By Illinois Review
Robbins Police Chief David Sheppard has only been on the job for eighteen months, but in that short period of time, he’s quadrupled the number of police officers patrolling the streets; he’s overseen a dramatic reduction in violent crimes, including sexual assaults and aggravated battery; and the homicide rate has decreased by over 90 percent.
But late last week, Mayor Darren Bryant fired Sheppard only a day after the police chief filed a whistleblower complaint against the mayor, alleging illegal and unethical behavior – citing several examples, including the mayor’s request to move a vehicle from the scene of a fatal car accident in the middle of a police investigation, potentially tainting the evidence, and demanding that Sheppard hire an individual with ties to the mayor despite concerns following that individual’s background check.
Bryant, who marched in a Robbins Labor Day parade alongside former Republican nominee for governor Darren Bailey in September, has been under fire from the community after a series of water main breaks that have left residents without running water on more than 20 different occasions during the past year.
And this past Thanksgiving, nearly 100 residents were without water, as city officials dropped off cases of bottled water on doorsteps, leaving families to try and figure out how to prepare their Thanksgiving feasts and do the dishes using only bottled water.
Despite befriending Bailey during the General Election campaign, Bryant is making direct appeals to Gov. JB Pritzker, and requesting financial assistance from the state to repair the broken infrastructure.
Bryant estimates that it will cost about $40 million to repair and replace the broken pipes – and he’s going to need the governor’s help to make that happen.
The Village of Robbins is also facing a lawsuit from the City of Chicago, alleging that Robbins owes the city $16 million in overdue water bills and late fees – creating yet another public relations nightmare for the embattled mayor.
Sheppard, a registered Republican, Navy veteran and former candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives, was recently elected to serve on his local school board, district 124.
In February, Gov. Pritzker went on the attack during a press conference, calling Illinois-based conservative grassroots organizations that recruit and support local conservative school board candidates’ “racists” and “anti-LGBTQ.”
During this past municipal election, Pritzker and the Democratic Party of Illinois spent $800,000 to support their liberal, progressive school board candidates and to attack conservative, grassroots candidates – every day moms and dads simply because they want to reverse this dangerous trend of plummeting test scores and put our kids back on track so they can lead successful lives and careers in the future.
But it’s clear that Bryant is making a conscious decision – and if there’s any chance at saving his own failures as mayor, it’s going to take the help and support of Gov. Pritzker – and that can’t happen so long as Sheppard is his police chief.
It also can’t happen so long as Sheppard continues to hold the mayor accountable – and calling him out when he sees a public official abusing their power.
With crime continuing to rise in Chicago and the surrounding communities, having a “tough on crime” police chief like Sheppard brought great comfort to the residents of Robbins.
Now, some say, they fear for their lives.
And they can thank their mayor for it.