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Darth Avlectus
06-07-2011, 08:56 PM
I'm not the only one who thinks something is wrong with this picture, amirite?

http://beta.news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/cop-fired-helping-fellow-officers-distress-150454649.html

It was a Saturday on campus when David Sedmak, 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 (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7597683.html#ixzz1ObJTRbjP), citing "dereliction of duty."

The university said in a statement that its officers often assist other law enforcement agencies when the need arises. But Sedmak erred, it said, by not informing the university police dispatcher about where he was.

"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.

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.

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."

Kevin Lawrence of the Texas Municipal Police Association agreed. "You don't fire a guy for this unless he's a chronic disciplinary problem," Lawrence said. "You call him in, you counsel him and you put him back out there. If he's a good cop, he's a good employee. You use this as a training opportunity."

(Rice University's Lovett Hall: Pat Sullivan/AP)

Hm. Agenda? Chip on the shoulder of the school? Looking for an excuse just to fire?

That seems rather extreme I think.

Discuss.

mimartin
06-07-2011, 09:36 PM
Been following this as it has been all over local news here. I don't like that they fired the man, but knowing the location of Rice and the Greyhound Bus Station I have wondered why he was so far away from the university. I can also understand the university’s concern. In the time of economic concerns the last thing they want to happen if for their police officer to be involved in a shooting 2.9 to 3.5 miles away from the university. The cost of a lawsuit and/or the increase in insurance premiums is a major concern of many school of higher education right now. I know of a least one junior college in the area whose insurance premium are about to shoot up over a million dollars a year because of the idiots in the legislator are going to allow concealed handguns on campus. This at the same time as the legislator cuts the school budgets (not that buget cuts are a concern for Rice as they are a small private school). It could also be a case where the universities insurance policy only covers losses on the campus.

So yes it may be extreme, but it may also be prudent.

Liverandbacon
06-07-2011, 09:43 PM
Mr. Lawrance has it right. Sure, the guy should've called dispatch for a number of reasons, but when an officer forgets to do so while rushing to protect people's lives, it's really not something to fire them over. If he were leaving unannounced to go down to a bar, or get some sleep, then it might be a different matter, but this... seriously.

Totenkopf
06-07-2011, 09:46 PM
^I agree. They could have opted for some kind of administrative punishment, but firing was excessive......especially in this, the direst econmomy since the Great Depression (or so we've been told :rolleyes: )

Darth333
06-07-2011, 10:52 PM
Wow! I don't see how the guy could have been fired here or even sanctioned in any other way unless he was originally away from his duty for a reason unrelated to this event...but even then, firing him sounds somewhat extreme (but from past experience, media reports are to take with a grain of salt).

In any event and regardless to the above, "armed university police officers" sounds really strange to me and appears to be a concept which is inconceivable here: sometimes police officers may provide assistance to an institution but I know of no university that has its own police force :confused:

The Doctor
06-07-2011, 11:25 PM
I'm generally of the opinion that the words "officer down" qualify as mitigating circumstances in just about any case. This certainly seems to be one of them.

Totenkopf
06-07-2011, 11:34 PM
Wow! I don't see how the guy could have been fired here or even sanctioned in any other way unless he was originally away from his duty for a reason unrelated to this event...but even then, firing him sounds somewhat extreme (but from past experience, media reports are to take with a grain of salt).

In any event and regardless to the above, "armed university police officers" sounds really strange to me and appears to be a concept which is inconceivable here: sometimes police officers may provide assistance to an institution but I know of no university that has its own police force :confused:


Down here we call them "campus cops", but they are usually armed and work at some level w/the cities/municipalities where the institutuions are found. Didn't realize Canada didn't have something similiar (even if only with billy clubs/blackjacks/etc..).

Sabretooth
06-07-2011, 11:43 PM
Way to twist the word, media. He apparently wasn't fired for helping law enforcement in distress, he was fired for abandoning his post for over an hour.

The Doctor
06-08-2011, 12:29 AM
Way to twist the word, media. He apparently wasn't fired for helping law enforcement in distress, he was fired for abandoning his post for over an hour.

In order to assist in an officer-involved shooting, when there were other officers on duty in the area he "abandoned". For a whole entire hour. Yeah, definitely a dereliction of duty. :rolleyes:

Sabretooth
06-08-2011, 12:48 AM
All I'm saying is that the reason he was fired was not for helping fellow law enforcement in distress as the thread title says [my bad, the story title says "after" instead of for]. It was for being absent from his post for over an hour without notifying the university police dispatcher about his whereabouts (why he didn't do that is another mystery altogether).

Is it possible that the university has fired him after a number of transgressions in the past, culminating with this one? Really, just what is the university's story?

purifier
06-08-2011, 01:27 AM
Maybe the University did him a favor. He might get a better job with better pay, because of this.

If so, that will be something he can rub in the University's face. :devsmoke:

Snard
06-08-2011, 08:51 PM
Thats total bull. I need to go get red foreman to shve his foot right up every one of their asses;)

Mandalorian Knight
06-10-2011, 02:27 AM
All I'm saying is that the reason he was fired was not for helping fellow law enforcement in distress as the thread title says [my bad, the story title says "after" instead of for]. It was for being absent from his post for over an hour without notifying the university police dispatcher about his whereabouts (why he didn't do that is another mystery altogether).

Is it possible that the university has fired him after a number of transgressions in the past, culminating with this one? Really, just what is the university's story?

That is a good point, but I don't believe that this should count towards "previous transgressions." Leaving his post was not a good thing, but leaving his post to assist fellow officers and hopefully prevent lives being lost should definitely take precedence, IMO.

I think that they time should also be considered. In my personal experience, Campus PD spends most of their time dealing with noise complaints, parking infractions, and drunk and disorderly conduct. Also in my experience at college, Saturday is a day of recovery from the night before. If I were the officer in question, I would definitely respond to help a fellow officer.

Darth Avlectus
06-10-2011, 11:02 AM
^^^So in an emergency such as this, you believe time to be of the absolute essence?

Mandalorian Knight
06-11-2011, 02:26 PM
^^^So in an emergency such as this, you believe time to be of the absolute essence?

Time is always of the essence in an emergency. If you mean the time of day, then that should be considered. Responsibilities should be weighed.

In addition, if things work there in a similar fashion to how they work in South Carolina, then Campus PD are actual police officers, with all the legal authority and responsibilities that brings. In my opinion, the officer in question did the right thing. There were other officers on duty at the time and lives were in danger at the scene of the emergency.

Drunkside
06-11-2011, 02:42 PM
Is it possible that the university has fired him after a number of transgressions in the past, culminating with this one? Really, just what is the university's story?

Thatīs what I thought when I was going through the OP...

Liverandbacon
06-12-2011, 04:29 PM
If discipline was a chronic problem for him, they'd have to be pretty dumb not to have mentioned it in their attempts to justify his firing. They also would have to be pretty dumb not to fire him during one of his normal transgressions, instead picking the one time it saved lives.

They did neither, so it seems pretty clear that either he wasn't a chronic disciplinary problem, or the school is run by complete idiots. I consider the first option more likely.

mimartin
06-12-2011, 08:24 PM
They did neither, so it seems pretty clear that either he wasn't a chronic disciplinary problem, or the school is run by complete idiots. I consider the first option more likely.

I assure you Rice University are not idiots.

They may not be releasing prior disciplinary problems because they know releasing such information would open themselves up to lawsuits.

Liverandbacon
06-12-2011, 11:19 PM
I assure you Rice University are not idiots.

They may not be releasing prior disciplinary problems because they know releasing such information would open themselves up to lawsuits.

I assumed they weren't idiots, which is why I inferred that he hadn't been a major problem before.

However, your point about lawsuits does shoot a hole in my argument.

It still doesn't explain why they wouldn't just fire him some other time he's a problem, when it wouldn't cause so much controversy. So I still think it's unlikely that it was a repeated problem.

Darth Avlectus
06-13-2011, 01:03 AM
^^^Don't have it--it isn't wise to upset an insurance salesman. :p