Beloved officer of many ‘firsts’ mourned

2016-12-23 12:50
Dean Mc Donnell (55)

Dean Mc Donnell (55)

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Plumstead crimefighters gathered at the local cricket club on Thursday night to say farewell to popular Law Enforcement Auxiliary officer Dean Mc Donnell (55). 

Mc Donnell was one of the founders of the Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch and was among the first Law Enforcement Auxiliary officers. 

On Thursday, police and City of Cape Town officials, friends and family of Mc Donnell all gathered for a memorial service that was also attended by Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith. 

According to a relative, Mc Donnell was diagnosed with cancer just over two years ago and passed away from kidney failure as a result of the treatment he was undergoing. 

Fellow Law Enforcement Auxiliary officer Sean Murray says Mc Donnell was a pillar of the community and was well known among crimefighters for his efforts in making the community safer. 

In his speech, Smith said seeing so many people attend the memorial was no surprise, as Mc Donnell was valued by many. 

Smith says Mc Donnell  was one of the first recruits for the Law Enforcement Auxiliary officer programme and was a pioneer for the service. 

He says while some officers had at one point considered quitting because it was such a trying experience, Mc Donnell was a "bittereinder" and saw it through and encouraged others to do so as well. 

“[He was] a father figure in the Specials [auxiliary officers]. Even when he was ill he made time to be there and to come help with admin and support duties. 

“It takes a special person to be a volunteer, a special person to be a peace officer, and a very special person to be a volunteer peace officer – someone who, when people are running away from trouble, runs towards it; someone determined to make the lives of those around them better; someone who cares enough to put themselves at risk. 

“I was saddened when he became ill and when I heard the doctor had said he was really not well, I went to see him as quickly as I could. At Groote Schuur we found him dozing, short of breath, but when he woke he was confident and resolved, saying that he had had a short setback, but that he would be back on his feet in no time and that he would beat this thing. 

“He was so determined, he had me convinced. I wished he had bounced back and was still here with us.” 

Mc Donnell was awarded a certificate of merit recently at the annual awards ceremony hosted by the City, but was too ill to attend. The certificate was handed to his relatives at the memorial.

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