I interviewed Rochester Police Chief Jim Sheppard today about officers and firefighters getting scammed by a Tennessee photography company. Members of local law enforcement agencies sat for portraits in 2010 that never arrived. Some people spent $100 or more on packages. The chief himself was among the victims.
The story raised questions about the judgment of local police and fire chiefs. It’s a little strange that an out-of-town company was hired for the work. It’s also weird anyone would try to scam cops.
After the interview, I asked the chief about safety outside MCC’s downtown campus at the Sibley Building on East Main Street. In a blow to downtown’s image, MCC opted to move to Kodak, citing safety concerns.
“Downtown is the safest part of the city,” Sheppard said. He said the department has done a lot to improve safety on Main Street. There are now officers assigned downtown and buses for high school students have been rerouted away from Main Street.
Ironically, less than an hour after I left, a 20-year-old man was stabbed right outside the doors of MCC’s Main Street entrance. The victim does not appear to be a student.
The stabbing happened right as MCC is trying to prove its case about the area’s safety. These incidents might be isolated, but they get publicity and make the city’s job of selling downtown much harder.