THE tears that flowed down the cheeks of District Constable Suzette Henriques mirrored the mood inside the Matilda's Corner Police Station on Old Hope Road in St Andrew yesterday.
Officers at the police station were overcome with grief as they mourned the sudden passing of their beloved colleague, 44-year-old Sergeant Leachman Gurdon, sub-officer for the station.
Gurdon, who died from complications of what appeared to be a heart attack on Monday night, had completed his assignments about 4:30 in the afternoon and informed Henriques, with whom he worked closely, that he would be retiring to the Barracks to get some rest.
He asked Henriques to call him on his cellular phone if he did not awake by a certain time. The district constable did as was requested but got no reply of her and so went to check up on her colleague.
"I saw him halfway off the bed," Henriques said.
The policeman was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital where he was admitted. Gurdon was pronounced dead about 10:00 pm.
"I have known Sergeant Gurdon for the last 12 years. He has been a father and a brother. He is the only officer here that my child calls 'uncle'. It is really heart-rending to know that I went and saw him in that condition and to know that he is no longer with us in the body, but he will forever be in our hearts. My condolence to his family; I am so distraught," Henriques said as tears flowed freely from her eyes.
Former sub-officer in charge of the Matilda's Corner Police Station and Jamaica Police Federation executive member, Detective Inspector Carol Chisholm, was also overcome with sadness with the passing of her colleague. Gurdon, she said, was a special individual with qualities that drew people to him.
"He was a very jovial sub-officer, very dedicated and responsible. His loss has taken a huge toll on all of us, but we have to be brave in times like these," Chisholm told the Jamaica Observer.
Constable Megan Clarke has been working with Gurdon since she was assigned to the St Andrew Central Police Division six years ago. She was reassigned to the Matilda's Corner Police Station — one of five police stations in that division — only on Monday, the very day her mentor died.
She credited her superior officer with teaching her the ropes of day-to-day policing and being a protective father figure during her formative years in the constabulary.
"He was more than a fellow cop, but a trusted friend who we will sorely miss," she said.
Sergeant Gurdon enlisted in the Jamaica Constabulary Force in March 1998 after a stint in the Island Special Constabulary Force.