Stansted: PC John Jackson retires after 35 years of public service
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Paramedic turned police officer PC John Jackson has said goodbye to colleagues at Stansted Airport after retiring from the force.
‘Jacko’ has dedicated the last 35 years to saving lives and helping people across Essex. He began his career as a paramedic with the Essex Ambulance Service in 1986 before retraining as a police officer in 1999. He joined the team at Stansted in 2003.
“I’ve worked for the best division in Essex,” said John. “I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s been brilliant. I wouldn’t change a thing and if I had to do it all again, I would. I’m leaving with a lot of fantastic memories.”
During John’s time at Stansted, he’s worked on the arrivals of three US Presidents and heads of state from all over the world.
Despite the high-profile events he’s been part of, John said the highlight has been the friendships he’s made.
“There’s a bond when you work with each other for years. They’re like another family. I’ve been very lucky to work with a group of people who get on – it’s been great. I’m proud to have done this brilliant job.”
John said his biggest achievement was passing his sergeant’s exams at the first attempt in 2011.
At the airport, John was the licensing officer for Stansted’s bars and restaurants. He said this could be a challenge as “people going on holiday let their guard down” which can lead to anti-social behaviour. “It can be quiet at Stansted but when it goes crazy, it goes crazy,” he added.
When the Covid pandemic hit, John worked for six months in the force control room, a task he described as “probably the most mentally demanding thing I’ve ever done”.
Despite his retirement from the police, 57-year-old John said he’s far too young to put his feet up. He plans to continue working but will make more time for his hobbies of cooking, wine and running. John has completed nine marathons with a personal best of 3:19:28 in 2014.
PC Sean McHale (pictured above, left) has worked alongside John for 14 years and said his positivity and good humour will be missed.
“Jacko is someone who lifts the team. He can be a grumpy old man sometimes but when you’ve had a busy day and you’re into your eighth overtime hour, he’ll still be keeping everyone’s spirits up.”
Sean said that his most memorable moment with John was wading into a pond to rescue a woman whose car was hanging upside down from a tree, and that John’s love of a joke shouldn’t disguise his dedication to his work.
“Although John's a joker, if he’s got a job to do, he’ll get it done. I’ve never seen him huff. He goes and gets statements, arrests whoever needs to be arrested and gets on with it. He’s a good bloke and he’ll be sorely missed.”