Rochester Police Chief Sheppard to retire

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UPDATE, Nov. 20, 10:55 a.m.: Mayor-elect Lovely Warren sent over a statement, reacting to Sheppard's announcement. The statement follows the blog. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard is retiring at the end of the year. Sheppard apparently sent an e-mail this morning, breaking the news to the department. 
James Sheppard. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • James Sheppard.


Many speculated that Sheppard's days were numbered soon after Mayor-elect Lovely Warren's victory in the September primary  election. Warren and Sheppard have not publicly clashed, but it's been clear for some time that Warren is not completely happy with the operation of the RPD. Among other things, she questioned why a police substation was put in the Sibley building downtown, when downtown is generally regarded as the safest place in the city. 

Sheppard has been a major presence in the community since taking over following the abrupt departure of former chief David Moore in 2010. He has made numerous appearances all over the city in an effort to improve police-community relations. 

But there have been setbacks, too, including a parking-ticket "fixing" scandal, and perceived favoritism for police officers caught on camera running red lights. There's also the ongoing problem of large groups of unruly youth starting fights throughout the city. 

Warren and some other members of City Council (Warren is currently City Council president) pulled Sheppard aside after a video surfaced of a Rochester police officer striking a pregnant woman in the head. Some members of Council, including Warren, felt that Sheppard was too quick to take the officer's side, and that it sent the wrong message to the community. 


Sheppard will hold a press conference at noon today to make the retirement announcement official. 


WARREN'S STATEMENT:

"Today I join with many others across the city in thanking Chief James Sheppard for his many years of service. I wish him well in all his future endeavors."

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