WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Growing up, Alan Gordon joined Westborough High School’s explorer post where he shadowed police officers and cultivated a love for police work that has persisted for more than four decades.

“I thought it was something I would enjoy,” said Gordon. “It just really peaked my interest.”

Gordon, a member of Westborough’s police force for the past 43 years – including the past 15 as chief – is hanging up his badge at the end of January. Gordon will reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 for police officers in early winter.

“I still feel energetic,” he said. “I love what I do.”

He joined the town’s police department as a reserve officer and dispatcher in 1974. Gordon became a full-time officer after attending the 12-week Worcester Police Department academy in 1978.

Gordon climbed the ranks of the department, becoming a sergeant in 1988, a lieutenant in 1992 and chief in 2002.

Throughout his more than 40-year career in Westborough, one October night in the early 1980s stands out in his mind. Gordon – then a patrol officer – was working an overtime shift when the department received a 911 call that a baby was not breathing. Gordon raced to a Haskill Street home, was the first on scene and immediately began administering CPR. Thanks to his and fellow Officer Craig Hillier’s efforts, the baby was revived.

Shortly after that, Gordon responded to a fire on Lyman Street where a man had barricaded himself inside a room in a suicide attempt. Gordon and other emergency personnel were able to pull the man from the home, but he eventually succumbed to his injuries.

“It was quite a night,” he said. “That always stuck in my mind.”

Not long after Gordon took over as chief, a serial rapist terrorized the Westborough area, breaking into homes at night and sexually assaulting women. Gordon was concerned law enforcement would never catch the man – later identified as Marcel Mota. Mota was arrested in 2014 in New Jersey by Westborough and Hopkinton officers after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

“That had a major impact on the community,” he said. “It was very traumatic for people in this community.”

The chief has seen many changes in law enforcement in his career, but none more significant than the technology available to officers. Every Westborough officer has a mobile data terminal in their cruiser that helps them access pertinent information while on the road.

“When I started everything was done by hand, typewriter,” he said. “You could never envision this when I started.”

The Westborough native plans to say in town and involved in the community by volunteering at schools and senior center.

Gordon said leaving the department is bittersweet and he will miss working with the dedicated staff. Gordon is excited to see the department continue to move forward.

“This town has given me so much,” he said. “I never forget who makes us look good. It’s the officers. You have to be there for your officers.”

Online: http://bit.ly/2xf0Ihk


Information from: MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.), http://www.metrowestdailynews.com

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JEFF MALACHOWSKI
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