The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service was shaken up earlier this week when one of its star investigators was stricken with a medical problem while testifying in a murder trial.
Lauriston Burton, 44, a detective-sergeant with the RCIPS Criminal Investigation Department, was giving evidence Tuesday in the Grand Court trial of William McLaughlin Martinez when observers in court noticed his eyes glassing over and that sweat had started to pour down his brow.
Presiding Justice Alexander Henderson excused Mr. Burton and Solicitor General Cheryll Richards informed the court Wednesday that the detective-sergeant’s condition was worse than first thought. Ms Richards said that the blood flow to Mr. Burton’s brain may have been affected.
He was initially scheduled to be airlifted to a Miami hospital Wednesday, but police said Mr. Burton actually stayed in Cayman and flew out on a regular flight to Miami Thursday for a scheduled appointment.
RCIPS Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden said a number of officers in the police association, as well as Commissioner David Baines were constantly checking on Mr. Burton’s condition, and it was believed he would suffer no lasting effects from the medical problem.
Mr. Bodden said he believed Mr. Burton was simply suffering from exhaustion.
‘In the last few weeks, we’ve seen him going into overdrive, which in my opinion, has led to burnout,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘He just needs to get some rest.’
There were two killings last week on Grand Cayman, including one that involved a triple shooting. In addition, Mr. Bodden said police were working on a number of other crimes including shootings, assaults and robberies.
‘There is a personnel management issue here,’ he said. ‘All of the investigators have been very busy, and Mr. Burton’s overwhelming service to the job has taken its toll.’
Police were otherwise at a loss to say what might have happened to Mr. Burton, who is relatively young and was described as athletic and healthy.
‘He doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘We’re not sure what medical condition he’s suffering.’
Mr. Burton was awarded in December 2007 with a police commissioner’s commendation for significant contributions to the community by then-RCIPS Commissioner Stuart Kernohan.
‘I wish I had another 30 or 40 of the ability of this officer,’ Mr. Kernohan said during the awards ceremony at the police officer’s ball, held in the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Without knowing it, Mr. Bodden actually echoed those comments Thursday.
‘If I could clone a police officer, it would be Burton,’ he said.
‘In the last few weeks, we’ve seen him going into overdrive, which in my opinion, has led to burnout. He just needs to get some rest.’
Marlon Bodden, RCIPS Chief Superintendent