By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Al Gordon will leave his position as Westborough’s chief of police the day the state legally requires him to do so.
Gordon will reach the mandatory retirement age for officers with his 65th birthday Jan. 31. Though he said he is ready to retire, Gordon added that he feels physically well and is eager to continue working with the community.
“I feel like it’s time to let somebody else have the opportunity I’ve had,” he said, later adding, “I’ve always felt like I owe this town a lot for what they have offered me as far as a life raising my family here.”
Gordon grew up in Westborough and secured his first job in the town working a night shift. Four years later, he finally completed his police academy training. Never leaving the department, Gordon assumed his current job in 2002 after his predecessor Glenn Parker retired.
As he pivots to life as a private citizen, Gordon said he wants to work with the senior center, helping run events or providing services such as meal delivery or transportation to senior citizens who need it.
“I look at myself; I’m going to be 65 but I’m in good health,” he said. “I feel very energetic and I feel like I could still give back to the town even though I’m not going to be the chief.”
Outside of the senior center, he said he will serve on the Board of Directors for the recently opened Westborough Behavioral Hospital.
The hospital will offer treatment for drug and alcohol addiction among other things, addressing an issue that Gordon said is a pressing one for his department as he leaves.
He noted that his department deals with drug use in the community “almost every day.” Beyond non-fatal overdoses and other drug-related calls, the town saw seven residents fatally overdose on opioids between 2014 and 2016 according to the most recent statistics from the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.
Among other challenges for his successor, Gordon said the department will have to build relationships with new parts of an increasingly diverse Westborough population.
“The diversity of the community is just exploding,” he said, describing an influx of residents of different nationalities moving to Westborough.
“Times are changing and we need to be out there in the public being able to see [those minorities] and relate to them so that, when we do have an issue whether it’s through terrorism or any kind of violence, we can reach out to our partners in the community and work together,” he added.
As of Dec. 29, Westborough had not named a new police chief. Regardless, Gordon said he hopes the department promotes one of its own, saying he is confident in the ability of any of the four internal candidates vying for chief’s office.
Gordon will vacate that job in a matter of weeks. In addition to looking back fondly on it, he is looking forward to the future as his department continues without him.
“It’s been a wonderful career,” he said. “I will miss it. Forty-three years in the same place doing the same job, it’s a long time. But I’m not going away. I’m still going to be around.”