Robert Westcott, 75

Former Block Island Police Chief
Fri, 12/16/2016 - 10:30am

Robert H. Westcott, 75, died at Family Hospice Center in Reading, Mass., from Parkinson’ s Disease on Feb. 7, 2016. He was born on Jan. 24, 1941 in Norwood, Mass., to the late Harold R. Westcott and the former Rena M. Acton.

Robert grew up on Block Island, attended the island school, and was a member of the Atlantic Lodge. He graduated from Dean College and then returned to the island where he was elected Police Chief.

He began the first official Police Department — starting with a tag sale, raising money from local volunteers for CB radios. Later, a police cruiser was given to the town, free of charge, due to a federal program sponsored by President Nixon. 

The Block Island Times ran a story in the July 20, 1972 edition of the paper with a headline, “New Shoreham Police Get Cruiser.”

“It is only in the past few years that Block Island has had or needed a real Police Department with trained men, proper facilities, and a well-organized program,” the story stated. “No one will question that we need one now. No new enterprise starts off perfectly. There are always bugs to be ironed out. New improvements keep suggesting themselves as new conditions arise. Any enterprise must either improve and keep up with the times, or it will fall behind and die. The latter will never happen if the Chief and his men have anything to say about it. Robert is a dedicated man.”

Robert loved astronomy; he used to set up his telescope on the hill above his house on Old Town Road. He was often joined by a dog, Rags, and assorted cats who, to his annoyance, would zip around underneath the tripod. He spent many hours waiting for a clear night to view the stars.

Robert moved off-island, and worked and retired from Lincoln Labs. 

He leaves his partner, Constance Grime, his sister Barbara Brown, and many nieces and nephews. Donations in Robert's name may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.