James M. Sheppard
23rd District - Rochester, Brighton
85 Newcroft Park
Rochester, NY 14609
Phone: (585) 753-1940 (w), (585) 474-2260 (h)
Contact Legislator Sheppard by email.
Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard represents the 23rd Legislative District in southeast Rochester and northeast Brighton. His district is an arc that includes the Park Avenue and Monroe Ave areas, Cobbs Hill, the South Winton Road area, Browncroft and the Winton Village areas of the City, along with a small part of the Town of Brighton roughly centered on Our Lady of Mercy High School. Currently, Legislator Sheppard serves as the Ranking Minority Member of the Public Safety committee and as a member of the Transportation committee. He was elected to the Legislature in 2015.
Retired Chief of Police James Sheppard has served the Rochester community for more than 30 years. His police career began in 1981 when he became a member of the Rochester Police Department. From there, Jim Sheppard served at every level, management position and in almost every assignment offered by the RPD, including: patrol officer, narcotics officer, patrol supervisor and emergency task force member, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, commander, deputy chief and culminating with his appointment on November 8th, 2010, as Chief of the Rochester Police Department.
His service spanned the community with time spent in the Highland Section, Professional Development Section, Tactical Unit, Special Investigations Section, Clinton Section Neighborhood Empowerment Team (NET), Professional Standards Section, Patrol Division East and the Operations Bureau and Research & Evaluation.
As a police officer, Legislator Sheppard was recognized numerous times for outstanding service, being the recipient of seven Chief’s Letters of Recognition, two Unit Commendations, four Captain Letters and an Excellent Police Service Award. In 1987, he was also presented a Life Saving Award.
During his tenure as Police Chief, he embraced a philosophy of “Policing in the Spirit of Service,” which encouraged officers to provide service to members of the Rochester community in a manner consistent with what they would want a member of their own family to receive.
As Chief, he consistently demonstrated extraordinary leadership as he modeled the behaviors he strove to inspire, and successfully weaved community engagement into the fabric of the department. As Chief, Legislator Sheppard also employed numerous strategies to engage the Rochester community and to solicit input from residents and stakeholders.
Efforts included: barbershop talks, “Chief on the Street" events, weekly radio appearances, school presentations, church/police recruitment drives, and public safety building community invites for Black Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day. During his three years of leading the Rochester Police Department, the City of Rochester experienced the lowest Part I crime incidents since 1983.
The Chief also served as the Director of the Office of Public Integrity for the City of Rochester; responsible for ensuring, through audits and investigations, the professionalism of employees and the integrity of all contracting for business with the City.
Focus on Youth
Legislator Sheppard’s initiation as a public servant commenced in 1979, when he worked for the New York State Division for Youth, as a counselor assigned to a group home for at-risk young men. His concern and focus on youth has continued throughout his career.
Through example, Legislator Sheppard demonstrated the virtues of youth engagement by regularly reading to elementary students, adopting grade school classes, and hosting youth interaction events at the public safety building.
As a result many members of the department embraced the philosophy of Policing in the Spirit of Service, and under his leadership the men and woman of the Rochester Police Department volunteered in record numbers to initiate positive interactions with the community and our youth.
Volunteerism was facilitated through a rejuvenated Police Activities League; an effort initially championed by former Chief David Moore, and brought to life under Legislator Sheppard.
The Chief also served as the Director of Safety and Security for the Rochester City School District; a position that provided an opportunity to experience and address students, staff, parents and visitors public safety and emergency preparedness concerns first hand.
Focus on youth continues
Since retiring from the Rochester Police Department, Legislator Sheppard continues to serve and engage the Rochester community. He previously volunteered for, and is now currently employed by the Center for Youth, in the New Beginnings Program, a collaboration with the Rochester City School District that serves at-risk young men. In addition, he serves on several area non-profit Boards: IBERO American Action League, BIVONA, NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness), and Prevention First (Fire Prevention & Education).
Legislator Sheppard holds a B.A. Degree from Empire State College (State University of New York) in Criminal Justice and Community Service, and is a 1998 graduate of the FBI National Academy. He and his wife June reside in the city and have three adult children, James, Tamara and Stephanie, and two grandchildren.