By Christopher Weigl, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough Police Chief Alan Gordon has lived in town his whole life, and in fact went to middle school in the very building in which he now spends his days working. His interest in the force was born out of the Explorer Program under the previous chief, Glenn Parker.
His experience there, he said, “just piqued my interest” and a desire to serve grew into a career.
After the Explorer Program, Gordon attended Quinsigamond Community College right out of high school, but didn's graduate; instead he “got on as a reserve police officer in 1974” and shortly after that took a paid position through 1973's Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), a government-sponsored program that secured temporary employment and training for unemployed persons. Gordon and two others benefited from the program, yet Gordon explained, “The chief would call you in, ask you if you wanted a job and say “Yeah, here's a gun, here's a badge, go get a uniform and you were working.””
According to Gordon, they were put on the road with basically no training except for “a brown book test, which was a test on Mass. general laws.” Overall, Gordon said, working the midnight shift without any more formal training than that “was pretty scary.”
A few years later, in 1978, Gordon was appointed to a permanent position and went through the Worcester Police Academy's 12-week program. After graduation he “went back to the midnight shift, which [he] was on for 12 years.” Despite such a hard shift while raising a family, Gordon really loved the work and spoke fondly of the eight years he worked New England Patriots games, “patrolling outside the stadium before the games and then at the second half of each game … right down on the field.” In 1992 he was promoted to lieutenant and in 2002 promoted to his current position as chief of police, shortly before graduating in 2003 with a bachelor's degree from Western New England College.
The day-to-day life of the Westborough's chief of police is made up of many very early mornings. Gordon gets to work each day at 6 a.m. and generally leaves around 2 p.m.
“From 6 “til 8 allows me the time to look over the daily logs – I read every entry … make sure I understand everything that has taken place in the previous 24-hour shift.”
While lieutenants coordinate much of the 35 employees” daily work, the chief's primary role is simply listening to the community; Gordon spends a lot of time handling press releases, meeting with reporters, and addressing citizens” requests for meetings on different issues. Ultimately, he said, “That's what we'se here for. I have to be here to accommodate the town's residents,” no matter the time of day.
While much of his work is now behind a desk rather than out on the roads, Gordon makes a point to get up and out as often as possible. He said he was a proactive officer and really enjoyed traffic enforcement, yet “as you move up…you have more responsibility. You step back a little.”
Whenever he can, Gordon tries “to continue to use the knowledge that [he] had…being the chief you'se not gonna be on top of everything, but you still have to know how to do the job.” Whether that means backing officers up on an urgent call or issuing the occasional traffic warning, he said, “I was always able to stay pretty active and I always try to lead by example.”
His favorite part of the work is, he said, with kids.
“I love going into the schools with the kids,” he said. “That's the most fun of what I get to do for my job. I love going in and reading Dr. Seuss …They'se just so energetic, and I bring in little trinkets, little badges for them. Their eyes just light up.”
With two daughters, two sons, a stepdaughter, two stepsons and seven grandchildren, it is no surprise that Gordon enjoys being with children.