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Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Texas Cop Fired After Helping Fellow Officers In Distress
Hero Or Not?
According to reporter Robert Stanton’s May 7 Houston Chronicle Story. It was a Saturday on campus when David Sedmak, (pictured to the upper left) a Rice University police officer, heard "Officer down, officer down!" on his scanner: Two members of the Houston Police Department had been shot downtown. Sedmak rushed to the scene to help his fellow officers.
But Rice didn't see Sedmak as a hero. Instead, the university fired him, citing "dereliction of duty." 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.
The May 7, 2011 episode that led to Sedmak's controversial dismissal began when Jesse Brown, 20, was seen with a pistol as he tried to buy a ticket at the Greyhound bus station in downtown Houston. When HPD officer Fernando Meza, working an off-duty job at the station, confronted Brown about the weapon, Brown shot him in the hand. Soon after, Brown shot another officer, Timothy Moore, in the leg.
Sedmak said he arrived on the scene and prepared for a confrontation with the armed suspect. Several HPD officers came in after him and took cover behind his patrol car. Brown, who had been accused of shooting a 3-year-old girl, her grandfather and another man on Halloween in San Francisco, then shot and killed himself as Sedmak and the other cops closed in.
Both Meza and Moore were at a news conference Monday to show their support for Sedmak, a former Galveston police officer. The Houston Police Officer's Union presented him with a $2,500 check to help as he looks for new work.
Sedmak was stunned by the dismissal. "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."
"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 this past 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."
Law enforcement leaders are stepping up criticism of Rice University's firing.
No matter where this happened... TX, WV, OH, NC, FL, CA, NE, etc etc, its just plain WRONG!! What message does it send to the law enforcement community when the next emergency call goes out for any available officer in another close jurisdiction to assist his fellow officers??
End Of Story….
WV News 2011