Union show of support for fired Rice police officer

June 6, 2011 2:46:29 PM PDT
A Rice University police officer lost his job because he went to help Houston police after an officer-involved shooting. Now local law enforcement leaders are speaking out on the officer's behalf. Rice University frequently assists other law enforcement agencies during emergencies. But according to a university spokesman, in this case, Officer David Sedmak failed to follow protocol. Members of the law enforcement community are outraged and are standing by him.

May 7 is a day David Sedmak will never forget, all because of these four words -- "Officer down, officer down!"

The Rice University police officer came to the aid of two Houston police officers involved in a deadly shootout at a downtown bus station.

"My only concern on that day was to render aid to these two these two officers and protect innocent civilian lives," Sedmak recalled.

He'd been listening to HPD's radio channel. He was two minutes from the shooting scene and headed straight towards the chaos.

Kevin Lawrence with the Texas Municipal Police Association said, "David Sedmak is a hero for what he did."

The officer, whom fellow lawmen call a hero, never imagined his actions would cost him his job. But on that very same day, Sedmak was stripped of his badge and gun.

"What she told me was that it was outside my jurisdiction and that my actions did not support the missions of the university," Sedmak said.

A Rice University spokesman says Sedmak was terminated for "dereliction of duty." He left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour.

Ray Hunt, Vice President of the Houston Police Officers' Union, said, "It wasn't because he was just sitting around there to see what was going on at the scene. He was in a perimeter at this point."

Members of local law enforcement are outraged at how the university handled the situation and have vowed the help the officer. They presented Sedmak, a husband and father, with a check for $2,500 to cover his mortgage while he looks for a new job.

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