Rochester, N.Y. --- Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard tells 13WHAM News he is in a unique position that allows him to not rush to judgment about his officers.
This interview comes after a series of 13WHAM News reports that looked at a March 2012 drug investigation at 375 Roxborough Road. While officers recovered a large quantity of cocaine, cash, ammunition, and a shotgun inside that home the case crumbled months later.
Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall’s strongly worded decision following a suppression hearing dismissed most of the charges in this case and also stated that the evidence points to a “warrantless” search of that Roxborough Road home some three hours before the warrant was signed. The testimony and credibility of one Rochester Police Officer was also “called into question” multiple times in Judge Randall’s decision.
"When there's allegations made against the integrity of our officers we're going to conduct an investigation that is our role,” Chief Sheppard said Wednesday morning. “And I think it's very important for our people to know that and I think it's very important for the community to know that."
The Rochester Locust Club Police Union called on Chief Sheppard to lend his support to the officer mentioned in Judge Randall’s decision (Ofc. Ryan Hartley) as well as another who jointly investigated the case (Ofc. Robert Osipovitch) and has been scrutinized in past legal decisions.
"The Union President has requested that I come out and support the officers and you know my position is that for me to do that I need to have certain facts in hand,” Chief Sheppard said. “For me to go out blindly in support that, in my eyes, would make me a fool. I think that the best thing for me to do is collect my information, get as much information as possible, assess that information, make a determination and then if it's warranted to speak on it."