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Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31. Sheppard sent an email to his department Wednesday morning.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve you and the citizens of the City of Rochester, and be a part of what I know is one of the finest police departments in this country,” he wrote to his staff.
Mayor-Elect Lovely Warren thanked Sheppard for his service.
“Today I join with many others across the city in thanking Chief James Sheppard for his many years of service,” Warren said. “I wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
Sheppard spoke at noon at the Public Safety Building.
“First off, I just want to say to the rank and file, the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, ‘It’s been a great run,’” he said. “For me it has been 33 years of service to the city of Rochester.”
Sheppard joined the Police Department in 1981, working his way up through the ranks for 27 years before leaving in 2008 to become director of safety and security for the Rochester City School District.
He returned to the city in March 2010 as director of the Office of Public Integrity. He was appointed chief of police in November 2010.
“Can’t get away from public service,” Sheppard said. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a good run. It’s my time, and I’m ready to go.”
Sheppard said he was retiring “most definitely on my own terms,” and that his retirement had nothing to do with the recent mayoral election.
“Retirement is something I never looked at in 30-something years, but when I saw it, I couldn’t take my eyes off it,” he said. “It’s not a matter of being forced. … I’m doing what’s best for James Sheppard.”
He fondly recalled service with the city.
“It’s been great. I mean, I’ve enjoyed being chief. I think that we have done some great things. I am sure the Rochester Police Department will continue to do great things,” Sheppard said. “They were great before I came. They were great while I was here. They will be great when I’m gone. They do what they do.”
He commended the Rochester Police Department for its volunteer and community outreach work.
“I think that in terms of us being involved, engaged, doing a lot of volunteer things, reaching out to the community. Trying to impact crime not just through law enforcement but impact through touching these kids before they go down the wrong path.”
Sheppard wished his department well.
“I’m the 11th chief in my tenure,” he said. “We grind it out. We do what we do to keep the city safe.”
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