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RPD Chief James Sheppard to retire

Rochester, N.Y. -- Police Chief James Sheppard sent an email announcing his retirement that went to the Rochester Police Department staff this morning.

He writes, While this is a difficult decision, I know it is the right one, made at the right time.

You can read the complete letter here.

Sheppard insisted he wasnt forced out or asked to resign by Mayor-elect Lovely Warren or her new administration.

Chief Sheppard met with Warren Tuesday to tell her he was retiring. He said there was no conversation, no discussion, and he wasnt asked to stay. But he said this retirement announcement is being made on his terms and that the time is right for him to leave.

Sheppard said he decided to retire over the summer and then submitted his papers in October. He abruptly pulled those resignation papers because he said he didnt want to make it look like it was political or related to the election.

City Councilman Adam McFadden told 13WHAM's Patrice Walsh that everyone in city government was asked to turn in resignations.

McFadden says he likes Sheppard personally but Lovely Warren has the right to bring in people that "she's comfortable with." McFadden told Walsh, "it's the right thing to do."

Sheppard submitted his retirement papers effective Dec. 31st. Has served as chief since Nov 2010.

Mayor-Elect Warren released this statement following his annoucement:

"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."

Mayor Tom Richards released this statement:

"Jim Sheppard is a son of Rochester, growing up here and rising through the ranks in the Rochester Police Department from patrolman to the top job as Chief. He loves Rochester and the RPD and demanded the best of its members and himself. Jim understands the changing nature of modern, urban policing. Upon his 2010 swearing-in, Chief Sheppard set out to instill confidence in the leadership of the RPD with the rank and file officers and to open the lines of communication between the police and the community. He has done both. His genuine personal commitment of time and energy to "Policing in the Spirit of Service" has included many successful initiatives and reflects how he has conducted himself as Chief.

I want to thank Chief Sheppard for his 30 years of service to our city and personally thank Jim for his service to this administration. I am proud of him and of the RPD he led. He will be greatly missed."

Who will be the next chief? Some names are being floated around and rumored to be under consideration, including former RPD Chief Cedric Alexander.

That decision will be up to Warren and her new administration.

The Police union President, Mike Mazzeo said he hoped the administration would again consider someone from within the Rochester Police Department for the top job. He said it gives officers something to aspire to and also makes sense because he said someone in the department knows how it works and how things are done.

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Washington Times