May 14, 2013

Chief James M. Sheppard ‘99, Recognized for Outstanding Leadership and Service to the Community

Dean Jonathan Franz, RPD Chief James Sheppard '99, Acting President Meg Benke at the annual Genesee Valley Center community event. Sheppard was honored for his leadership and community service.

Left to right: Dean Jonathan Franz, RPD Chief James Sheppard '99 and Acting President Meg Benke.

Photo credit: Patrick Castania/Canal Town Photo

(ROCHESTER, N.Y. – May 16, 2013) James M. Sheppard, chief of the city of Rochester Police Department, has received special recognition as an alumnus of SUNY Empire State College’s Genesee Valley Center for his outstanding leadership and service to the community.

The citation states that Sheppard was selected, “In honor of your significant contributions, dedicated service and exemplary leadership as chief of police for the city of Rochester.”

“I am very grateful to Empire State College for recognition as an alumnus,” said Sheppard. “In the process of earning my bachelor’s degree at Empire State College, my research and writing skills were strengthened considerably, which made me a better police officer. Learning is a life-long process and I would not be leading the Rochester Police Department without my bachelor’s degree from Empire State College.”

Sheppard was honored yesterday evening at the Genesee Valley Center’s annual community celebration event by the center’s Dean Jonathan Franz as well as students, fellow alumni, faculty, community and government leaders. The event was held at the Memorial Art Gallery.

“Chief Jim Sheppard is well known throughout the community for his outstanding leadership as demonstrated by his philosophy of policing in the spirit of service, which has been embraced by the entire Rochester Police Department,” said Franz. “Jim also was instrumental in the creation of our Leadership Development Program for police officers here at the Genesee Valley Center. We are pleased to present to Chief James Sheppard the Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to the Community and proud to honor him as an alumnus.”

Brianna Collichio, who sang the National Anthem, and RPD Chief James Sheppard '99, at the annual Genesee Valley Center Community Event. Sheppard was recognized for his leadership and community service.

Brianna Collichio, who sang the National Anthem, with RPD Chief James Sheppard '99.

Photo credit: Patrick Castania/Canal Town Photo

About James M. Sheppard

Sheppard earned his B.A. in criminal justice and community service from the college in 1999.

He was appointed the Rochester Police chief Dec. 10, 2010, and served with the Rochester Police Department for 27 years, rising to the No. 2 position in the RPD as deputy chief of operations before moving on in 2008, to serve as the director of safety and security for the Rochester City School District.

During his first year as police chief, he encouraged officers to embrace a philosophy of policing in the spirit of service, a belief that every person we encounter should receive the same level of service that an officer would expect a member of their own family to receive.

Sheppard also emphasizes community engagement, with a focus on youth, by regularly reading to students, hosting engagement events at the public safety building and adopting grade school classes.

In 2012, the men and women of the RPD, inspired by his example, volunteered in record numbers to engage young people through multiple means. Through the re?established Police Activities League, officers have a mechanism that allows them to easily identify volunteer opportunities.

Sheppard also encourages officers to see policing as a people business and to have a people-first mindset.

In addition to his B.A. degree from the college, he is a 1998 graduate of the FBI National Academy. Sheppard and his wife June reside in the city and are the parents of three grown children, James, Tamara and Stephanie.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 66,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after 5 p.m. and weekends)