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Cop Fired For Responding to Officer Down Call

Cop Fired For Responding to Officer Down Call

The Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

June 08, 2011

HOUSTON, TX – Law enforcement leaders are stepping up criticism of Rice University’s firing of a police officer who responded to an armed standoff off-campus last month with a man who shot two HPD officers before turning the gun on himself.

Rice University terminated the officer, David Sedmak, for dereliction of duty for leaving his post to get to the call near the downtown Greyhound station. Sedmak responded to the scene when he heard the call on his police scanner.

“You don’t fire a guy for this unless he’s a chronic disciplinary problem,” said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, at a news conference Monday. “You call him in, you counsel him and you put him back out there (to work). If he’s a good cop, he’s a good employee. You use this as a training opportunity.”

On May 7, the suspect, Jesse Brown, 20, was spotted with a pistol as he tried to buy a ticket at the Greyhound station at 2121 Main.

Brown shot Houston police officer Fernando Meza, who was working an off-duty job at the bus station and confronted Brown about the pistol. Meza was hit in the hand. Moments later, Brown also shot Houston police officer Timothy Moore in the leg outside a nearby McDonald’s. The two officers joined about 25 other police officials Monday in a show of support.

“In this case, Officer Sedmak’s reward was he was fired,” said Ray Hunt, vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Hunt presented Sedmak with a $2,500 check Monday to help him as he tries to land another job.

Sedmak said he was astounded to learn he was being fired for helping fellow officers in distress.

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Former Rice University police officer David Sedmak has drawn support from Houston police.

“My only concern on that day was to render aid to these two officers,” he said. "… Quite frankly, I couldn’t believe that after being in law enforcement for nearly 17 years that I was being relieved of my duty for running an assist to an officer.

“There’s been a lot of talk about me being a hero, and I just want to say personally that the real heroes here are these two officers and the job that they performed on that day,” said Sedmak, a former Galveston police officer.

University spokesman B.J. Almond declined to comment about Sedmak’s firing, but he provided a statement from the university.

“As a matter of policy, Rice University does not comment on personnel matters,” the statement reads. “However, out of respect for the Houston Police Department, we want to clarify that David Sedmak was terminated from the Rice University Police Department for dereliction of duty. Sedmak left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour, which could have endangered the safety of our students and campus.”

Almond said that Rice University police officers frequently assist other law enforcement agencies near the university on a case-by-case basis. In the first five months of 2011, the department responded to 37 calls for help from adjacent police agencies.

“In all instances, Rice officers are required to promptly notify the RUPD dispatcher of their location and the situation … (to) ensure that enough officers are on duty on campus to protect the safety of our students and employees,” according to the statement.


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    kvmassey

    almost 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    Wow!! Thanks to our Law enforcement officers for providing a safe environment and protecting the innocent. I am very sad that the officer was relieved of duty for helping his fellow officers. Now I am afraid that other Officers will be afraid to do their job, because they do not want to get fired. The morale will go down for the officers. That is a shame. SHAME ON THE PERSON OR PERSONS THAT FIRED SEDMAK.

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    lilmonie16

    almost 3 years ago

    8 Comments

    Agree with the previous comments...pure idiotic...the Worse part of it all, Rice feels they did nothing wrong firing Sedmak. I'm Sure the College & Students Survived the hour Sedmak was away helping fellow-officers in distress ;/...agree with the BigHappy, it Should be on the news...

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    LAWMANTUKES

    almost 3 years ago

    6948 Comments

    "Bump" SkoolCop49...I am of the same thinking that perhaps Houston PD will offer him a position.

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    LAWMANTUKES

    almost 3 years ago

    6948 Comments

    This is just another department displaying it's political thoughtlessness, as they rush to judge a situation from the "armchair". And as hafahndlr put it; "This is utter bull shit!". I think that it has become so "hands offish" and "look the other wayish", that the civilians incharge of such decision making are to the point of; "They just don't give a damn..!!!" about you or I, until they themselves are in need of immediate help.

    Hang in there Officer Sedmak..!! I'm sure that after this plays out a little, some Police Chief or Law-Enforcement Official somewhere, will be offering you a position soon.

    Good Luck My Brother...And Thank You For Your Service....

  • Gods_team_max160_max50

    BigHappy

    almost 3 years ago

    76 Comments

    Another shame of this situation is that this has not been reported at all in the liberal media, I've only seen it here on PL. Durring this time when it seems that most with badges atre walking bulseye for the bad guys there should be much more outrage of the situation and support of this officer who did what no civilian would do....run towards the fight! Support our Officers, support each other!

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    hafahndlr

    almost 3 years ago

    380 Comments

    This is utter bull shit! Certainly would be different if these officers needed the help from the Houston Officers. Great job Officer Sedmak and thank you for what you did!

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    jc227

    almost 3 years ago

    24 Comments

    Armchair supervisors....not surprising. All I can say is yeah, he should have told dispatch and/or his supervisor he was leaving his area BUT no matter what was in his personnel file prior to that day firing him was obviously not the right thing to do. I would guess his Chief or someone else in upper management had prior issues with him and let the personality conflict interfere with proper decision making. I had a Lt. like this once. He had a personality disorder where he felt inferior to those who refused to fear his intimidation tactics, etc. Called him out on it one day and asked to see the Captain to settle it. Since he knew his B.S. was baseless, he yelled me out of his office and that was the end of it.........years later, after I left that PD (like many others) I heard he almost got fired for sexually harassing a female dispatcher in the station. Comes around goes around I always say.

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    leitersr

    almost 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    This officer did a great job in assisting his brother hood. Maybe he should have radioed an told disbatch what he was doing, but getting fired. They need to fire the person that fired him. I would bet that if the guy that did the fireing had a problem and needed assistence he would call the LPD. This is how we work, brothers helping brothers not brothers let brothers fall.

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    davethomass50

    almost 3 years ago

    30 Comments

    Ya it is a shame that you have chief's like this that will not back his people up. And I saw someone put on here that Officer Sedmak works with three other Officer's and just where the hell were they when the call come out. I work in a town that has a university right in the middle of it and there has been a many of calls that we were glad that the university guys showed up. And also where Officer Sedmak was suppose to give his Sgt. a heads up that he was leaving campus to go and help a downed Officer. The Sgt. or Superviser aught to be looked at cause if it took him an hour to relize that one of his guys was not on campus then right there is a problem. Eitherway it come to it that Officer Sedmak should be congratulated on a job well done going to the aid of fallen Officers instead of fired. Officer Sedmak is a hero in my book.

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    DarkKnight77587

    almost 3 years ago

    94 Comments

    REPOST from my earlier Post - KEEP IT GOING!!
    ******************************************************************************
    The following is from a Houston Talk Show Host. His website is: http://www.ktrh.com/pages/michaelberry.html
    You can hear the radio call Officer Sedmak listened to at this web site as well as Michael Berry interviewing Officer Sedmak.
    Its interesting to note that the Officer had just be trained as a trainer in Feb. - sent by Rice university - to an ACTIVE SHOOTER School.
    ********************************************************
    Call the following people at Rice and politely tell them this is unacceptable.
    Chief of Police William Taylor: 713-348-6333
    Main number for the police: 713-348-6000
    University President David Leebron: 713-348-5050
    Exec. Asst. to the President: 713-348-5049
    Main number for the university: 713-348-0000

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    prophet911

    almost 3 years ago

    126 Comments

    Keep your head up, Ofc Sedmak! We support you! Good to see Houston PD supporting him too.

    While his actions may warrant some discipline, firing is rediculous. If he just took off w/o telling anyone, that is officer safety. But like HPD said, use it as a training opportunity.

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    proverbs4

    almost 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    As a senior law enforcement commander I'm hesitant in criticizing personnel actions. Several things I see missing here are the campus RUPD Chief comments, any mention of other personel problems w/ Sedmak, and the mention of written or implied policy. If the story is true as reported then Sedmak should have notified his dispatch or supervisor of his response to the HPD situation and if Sedmak has not been a personnel problem then his actions at most should have been a written reprimand.

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    LanaNJ

    almost 3 years ago

    6246 Comments

    Before my days of Food Service, I worked for Campus Security/Police at Drew University. A couple of Stolen Bikes, a Drunken student and a tearful girl who takes 4 aspirins for attention would be headlines for the week. Other than checking people in at the Gate, my duties mostly included going off Campus to quick-check for the higher ups. With that said, why do they deem this a dereliction of duties. The mans a hero and should be treated as such. Sheesh.

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    LAHeat875

    almost 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    For what its worth: Here is RIce Universities admin e-mail address:

    admi@rice.edu

    Let them know (respectfully) how we as LEOs feel about this wrongful action!

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    LAHeat875

    almost 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    simple! If I were those other University cops, I'd be looking for a another LEO job! What a negative message that sends. For Rice University to terminate a 17 yr tenured, seasoned veteran is a CRIME! For what its worth I am going to send an email to Rice and express my display and hopefully thousands of other emails will flood Rice's email account !!

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