Three retired New West police officers who contributed decades of service to the city have passed away in recent weeks.
Longtime New West resident John Lucas retired as a superintendent with the police department in 1993, following a career that included stints with the British Intelligence in Austria and Germany, the British South Africa Police in Rhodesia and the B.C. Provincial Jail Service. During his three-decade career with the New Westminster Police Department, he enjoyed a number of career highlights including: riding a police motorcycle for five years; starting a program that saw officers talking to children at schools and day-care centres about safety issues; being one of the original faculty of the B.C. Police College (later renamed the Policy Academy); writing the NWPD’s first policy and procedures manual; and overseeing the department’s patrol, criminal investigations and community services section.
Randy Gibson passed away March 17 at the age of 68 after a short battle with cancer. Gibson, who started working for the department in 1984 and retired as a constable in 2005, received an Award of Meritorious Service from the province in 2001 for his compassion and quick response when dealing with a suicidal man attempting to jump from a bridge.
Wolf Kohler, who started working with the police department in 1973 and retired in 1999 as Constable, also passed away in March.
“Though after we retire we all move on to different paths in our life, the close bond a police officer develops with their brother and sister members is something you can really only find in services like law enforcement,” retired New Westminster Police officer Ted Usher said in an email to the Record. “Because of the nature of the work we do in seeing the uglier side of life at times, plus the significant training we go through, as well as the many hours we spend together, that close bond is always there until the end. And when a fellow member passes on, it affects us all no matter how close we were. These three members served the community of New Westminster for over 67 years of service.”
According to Usher, Gibson was known as the Sheriff of Sapperton because of his “unique style of policing” and the fact he was assigned to the area for many years.
“Randy wore a cowboy hat and at times, was caught wearing it in uniform to the disapproval of the sergeant,” he said. “We all had a good chuckle at that.”