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Decision on Police Chief Expected Soon

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Rochester: Decision on Police Chief Expected Soon
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A change in city leadership will bring a change in the person wearing the biggest badge at the Rochester Police Department.

Chief James Sheppard's retirement takes effect at year's end, and mayor-elect Lovely Warren has a decision to make.

"If you give a good sense of direction, the police officers, as you see day after day, get it done," said Chief Todd Baxter of the Greece Police Department.

As a former city cop, Baxter is familiar with the challenges the Rochester Police Department faces.

"People gotta sometimes put themselves in the shoes of the police officer. They're being critiqued 24-7. They risk their lives and sometimes give their lives for what they're doing."

The name most widely linked to the city chief's job has been Cedric Alexander. The one-time interim chief is now a chief of police in Georgia. Baxter worked closely with Alexander during his time here.

"He's a leader. A natural born leader. He's a bold person willing to make decisions. He loves policing. He loves leading police officers and giving them a sense of guidance and direction, so he's a good chief."

Warren tells us she has reached out to Alexander, but has also interviewed several other candidates. She says she'll make a final decision next week.

Baxter says whoever gets the job, there will be challenges. The key, he says, is establishing quickly exactly who's in charge.

"The biggest challenge is coming in and establishing your standards right up front. It doesn't matter if Cedric Alexander comes in or someone else, there's gonna be change."

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