Hero Down: Tustin PD Officer Delbert Pickney Dies On Hike
Tustin, CA – Tustin Police Department Master Reserve Officer Delbert “Del” Pickney died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack as he and a friend were out hiking on Thursday, a close family friend told Blue Lives Matter.
Officer Pickney, 52, had served full-time with Tustin PD for 29 years, and he remained with the department as a master reserve officer after his retirement six months ago, TPD said in a Facebook post.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2000, and was later “appointed as the first-ever Master Sergeant at the TPD,” according to Behind The Badge.
Officer Pickney, who also served as a Marine, “spent 17 continuous years as either a Field Training Officer or the Coordinator of the field Training Officer Program,” and also served the department as a narcotics investigator, Behind the Badge reported.
He received a plethora of awards throughout his career, and was “known around the department as the ‘Oracle,’” according to Behind the Badge. “[He] truly left a legacy of dedication and professionalism here at the Tustin Police Department that will last a lifetime.”
Officer Pickney suffered an earlier heart attack two years ago while on duty, and was “diligent” about his health after the experience, family friend Stacey Burger told Blue Lives Matter.
Stacey explained that she and her husband, Beverly Hills Police Department Detective Kevin Burger, became friends with Officer Pickney and his wife, Michele, after the men competed against one another during a police softball tournament years ago.
The recurring event, which Officer Pickney co-founded, “brought thousands together from all over the U.S.,” she explained.
Officer Pickney and Michele, who have been together for over 30 years, were the “epitome of a perfect marriage,” and were “always together,” Stacey told Blue Lives Matter.
He was also very devoted to his teenage daughters, Ryan and Racheal, and was “one of those really involved dads who always took them out on lunch dates,” Stacey recalled.
The TPD echoed those sentiments on Thursday, and added that the “department...will miss him dearly.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tustin Police Department Master Reserve Officer Delbert “Del” Pickney, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here.
Thank you for your service.