A fearless cop with heart of gold

TAURIQ HASSEN

Tributes have poured in for a popular Rondebosch policeman who died suddenly after serving the community for more than 20 years

Warrant Officer Marcus “Robbie” Roberts, 45, suffered a fatal heart attack on Saturday May 28, and news of his death has shaken the community.

Resident Matilda Wallace heard on social about Warrant Officer Roberts’ death.

“I first saw the post, but couldn’t believe it. Then a neighbour informed me, but I was not 100 percent sure, and then I contacted the station and it was confirmed. He was one of the most helpful police officers I knew, always interacting with the community, and he did everything with a smile,” Ms Wallace said.

She fondly recalled seeing Warrant Officer Roberts buying pies and cooldrinks for some street children at a petrol station last year.

“Everybody does something for their community. They hand out food, clothing, blankets and whatever. Warrant Officer Roberts was in his uniform, but was off-duty. He did not just hand out food – it came with a little lecture. He tried to educate these children, and that right there was the difference.

“I approached him immediately after that, and I personally thanked him for what he had just done, because it wasn’t just the street children that learnt something that day, I did too,” Ms Wallace sobbed.

Warrant Officer Roberts’ colleagues are also struggling to come to terms with his death. Recalling how Warrant Officer Roberts had regularly shown his colleagues clippings of his daughters’ dancing achievements, station spokesman Warrant Officer Lyndom Sisam said: “We have not only lost a police member, but we have lost a friend, a brother and one of the station’s most dedicated police officers. He truly was one of kind, and he will always be remembered…The character of the life he lived might be summed up in a few words: he was sincere, he was earnest, he was loyal.

“We will miss his unforgettable smile and quirky sayings which hold special meaning to the ones who worked closely with him. Our sorrow is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know him.”

Warrant Officer Roberts, who served at the station for 24 years, had played a big role in planning anti-crime operations and had shared his experience with reservists.

He also worked closely with the Rondebosch Community Improvement District (RCID) and was its first sector commander.

RCID manager Shirley Aldum said both she and the RCID hub controllers had had daily contact with “Robbie”, and he had become not only a colleague but a sincere friend.

“Warrant Officer Roberts was sector manager for the RCID for many years and was a committed and dedicated police officer for over 20 years at Rondebosch police station. He will be sorely missed,” she said.

Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Barbara Breedt said Warrant Officer Roberts had always been willing to help.

“He loved his job. He was always willing to assist anyone. Once he was tasked you could accept that it was done. He got along with everyone at the station. He was dependable. He was at his happiest when he was outside when he was roaming the streets for perpetrators. He had an ability to investigate follow up and trace suspects.

“We have lost a member who has played an integral part of the station for the past 24 years. He was well liked by the members as well as the community and his death will leave a major void.”

A memorial service for Warrant Officer Roberts will be held at at the St Augustine’s Anglican Church, in 5th Avenue, Lotus River, on Thursday June 2, at 7.30pm. The funeral will be at the same address on Saturday June 4, at 9am.

Warrant Officer Roberts leaves behind his wife, Denise, and four children, Demo, 25, Jean-Pierre, 20, Ambrose, 16, and Ciara, 9.