RIDLEY TOWNSHIP — Police departments and officials around the region are extending condolences to the friends, family and co-workers of veteran Ridley Township Police Officer William Henderson, who died of natural causes over the weekend.

“Our hearts are heavy today,” said Ridley Township Board of Commissioners Bob Willert in a message posted to Facebook. “Yesterday the township lost a valued family member.”

Henderson was reportedly discovered inside his patrol car outside a Wawa on the 100 block of Morton Avenue in Folsom Saturday night.

 "I knew Billy for at least 40 years, before I was a commissioner," Willert said in an interview. "He's been the police officer most respected by the men (fellow officers) that I've ever seen. He mentored a lot of the younger cops and he was a calming influence in the police department. He was an all around great guy. He hadn't changed in all the years I've known him."

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Ridley Township Police as they suddenly lost a member of their department this evening,” said a message on the Darby Police Department Facebook page. “If there is anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

“Radnor Township Police Department joins the entire law enforcement community mourning the sudden death of Lieutenant William Henderson of Ridley Township Police Department,” a message on that law enforcement’s Facebook page reads. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family, friends and work colleagues.”

Henderson served in Ridley Township for 31 years, working his way up from patrolman to detective lieutenant. He was also an active member of S.M. Vauclain Fire Co. and served as the township’s assistant fire marshal.

“By all accounts, Lieutenant Henderson was a hard-working, well-respected member of the Ridley Township Police Department and an excellent example of service and dedication to our community,” Willert's statement read. “He was a husband, father, grandfather, friend, and colleague, and he will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him. The Ridley Township Board of Commissioners extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lieutenant Henderson. Rest Easy, Bill, and thank you for your service.”

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