Douche of the Week – Rice University
By The Sarge
May 7, 2011 probably started just like any other day for Rice University Police Department (RUPD) Officer David Sedmak. With 17 years of law enforcement experience under his gun belt, Officer Sedmak surely knew the ups and downs of life on the beat. Yep, just a regular day – at least until he heard the call crackling through his radio, “Officer down! Officer down!”
Just minutes away, Fernando Meza, a sharp-eyed Houston Police Department officer working an off-duty jobbie at the local Greyhound bus station, spotted a man with a gun trying to purchase a ticket. Officer Meza took action and things went downhill from there. The man opened fire striking Officer Meza in the hand. Meza managed to squeeze off a few rounds of his own and then the chase was on. The gunman fled to a fast food restaurant and again exchanged gunfire with officers, this time shooting Houston PD Officer Timothy Moore in the leg. Panic tones went off across the city.
Hearing the call, Officer Sedmak adjusted his pucker factor and probably thought to himself, “Where bullets are flying, there shall I be.” Sedmak then did what any good Sheepdog would do, he ran towards the danger in aid of his fellow brothers. Officer Sedmak left the campus of Rice University and set up on the perimeter around the gunman. HPD officers took cover behind Officer Sedmak’s patrol vehicle while they tried to reason with the bad guy. The standoff ended with the gunman taking his own life.
Back to School
A standoff with an armed gunman can take a lot out of a guy. This is especially true in the Texas heat and when you know that the bad guy has already taken out two of your own. Surely at the end of the ordeal, Officer Sedmak enjoyed getting back into his “air conditioned mobile office” and heading back to his campus.
Most agencies would probably spend three or four dollars on a piece of aluminum to pin on this guy’s shirt, print out a certificate of some short, or at least deliver a well deserved pat on the back. Our hero, on the other hand, got a different reception. A month after the incident his leadership, and I use the term loosely, informed him that he was fired! How’s that for an at-a-boy?
According to the brass, when Officer Sedmak left the campus he failed to notify his supervisor and dispatch of his actions. He also left the campus with “only two other officers” on duty. Apparently no one knew where he was for nearly an hour. Rice University would later say that he was fired for “dereliction of duty.” According to reports, Sedmak had to turn over his gun and was sent home dressed in his police uniform – UNARMED!
Now I’d love to know the background of the brainiac that made this decision. I take issue with Rear Echelon M-F’ers that like to play Monday Morning Quaterback. Ever spent any time on a college campus on a Saturday? It deader than the wacky-tabacky laced brain cells that were suffocated next to the bonfire the night before. Besides, it’s not like the entire campus was devoid of any protection. There were two other uniforms on duty. And as far as Sedmak being out of the loop for an hour, well that is about as short as a standoff can get.
The story hit news channels and spread like wildfire. Sedmak kept it classy stating “My only concern on that day was to render aid to these two officers,” he said. Law Enforcement organizations around the state condemned the actions of Rice University. In fact, the Houston Police Department’s Police Union presented Sedmak with a check for $2500. They called him a hero and hoped that the cash could help him and his family cover his bills until he found another job.
Rice University found themselves in a media shit storm. According to their policy the university doesn’t respond to questions of personnel issues, but they apparently felt the need do a little damage control, which is why we have such brilliant quotes of how Officer Sedmak’s “actions did not support the missions of the university” and of how his leaving “could have endangered the safety of our students and campus.”
Really? Because Rice University officers assist the Houston Police Department on a regular basis on calls for service and investigations. These calls probably tend to involve an underage beer-fest, but what better call to assist with than to save the life of another?
It All Boils Down to This
Did Sedmak break policy or protocol? Well, sure sounds like it. Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Hell nah! A real leader would hug him for making it out safe, tell him what he may have done wrong and how to fix it, award him for his valor, then get the hell out of his way and let him do his job!
Perhaps the real questions here should be “Why didn’t the other two officers go?” Was it because they were already aware of the tone set by their supervision? Or was it because at the moment of truth they froze? Either way, how is the university gonna fix that?
In conclusion, I’d like to make an official request that Rice University change their name – maybe to Rice College? They simply are unbecoming and undeserving of the RU acronym, seeing how only one member of their staff knew anything about how to Ranger Up – and they’ve pushed him away.