Officer fired after helping wounded officers

David Sedmak, a Rice University police officer (not a mere rent-a-cop) was fired after he assisted two officers who had been shot:

The May 7 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.

So why was he fired? For only the dumbest of reasons, of course:

“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,” according to the university.

I’m all for holding the police accountable, but this is ridiculous. The guy has been a police officer for 17 years and he was assisting two other officers who were in an obviously serious situation. Yes, he should have said where he was, but let’s get real. His history, his actions, and the situation do not dictate a dismissal.

The Houston Police Officer’s Union has seen fit to give Sedmak a check for $2,500 while he looks for work. I can only hope that he gets hired once again as a police officer – just somewhere more responsible and intelligent.

4 Responses

  1. Sedmak should have been docked one day of pay at the most for his failure to inform his supervisor.

  2. While I have empathy for the work done by police officers, and on the surface this officer was wronged for being fired, this posting does not give us sufficient facts to make a judgement.. What was his record for 17 years? How and why did he “arrive on the scene” of the terminal if he was a Rice University officer? Is it located nearby? Did he hear it on his radio? Did he have reason to believe a student was involved in the shooting? Did he evacuate his post leaving students in actual danger or hypothetical danger? Was he warned before for leaving his post?

    Need facts…..just the facts….

  3. Well it’s clear that he left his station, which must have been nearby. I’m assuming that after the shooting a call went out from dispatch for general assistance from other officers.

    Since he left without telling anyone, who knows what his supervisor thought, if it was indeed nearby he might have been shot for all they know. A tenuous hour passed, and than they find out he was fine.

    He shouldn’t be excused as Michael suggests (I know you didn’t actually say that), but maybe not dismissed. On the other hand, the people with the facts are the people that made this decision, and rules, even if bad ones, need to be enforced in some cases, otherwise their non-enforcement can easily be used in court against the department when an officer breaks the rules in a really destructive way.

    I do support discretion, but that has to be balanced with clear and common penalties for a defined behavior. Particularly in cases like the military or police where lives might easily hang in the balance.

  4. Now if we could only get them to fire the cops that are truly corrupt we’d be onto something. Unfortunately, I think we’d be awfully short of police officers were that to happen.

    Enjoy.

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