Few events hurt a community more than the death of a sworn police officer. Costa Mesa, which lost 32-year veteran Mike Delgadillo last week to an off-duty car crash, is no exception. Gone is a trusted sentry, a father, a friend. How can those sworn to protect us all perish in flash?
Delgadillo's career warrants commemoration. He devoted his life doing the type of necessary work that the rest of us would rather not touch – going after crooks, killers, drug dealers and other bad guys working to disrupt peaceful society. Police work, which we've observed throughout our careers, is tremendously difficult and, at times, dispiriting. But we know that there is also great satisfaction in collaring criminals, preventing crime and forging bonds with other officers.
When it comes to Delgadillo, all we've heard are superlatives. Victims' families said he provided comfort in their darkest hours. Colleagues called him a wisecracker before mentioning he was also dedicated and hardworking. He kept friends for decades. He was a good father of four.
And he, we'd like to point out, worked for a time as a training officer and continued to mentor to newcomers. Teaching the next generation is one of the most valuable — and hardest — things you can do in any organization. There is no use in knowledge or experience if it isn't passed onto the next generation and Delgadillo's lessons will be impressed on the streets of Costa Mesa for years to come.
Police work is routinely thankless. So, Detective Delgadillo, thank you for spending more than half of your 57 years on Earth keeping Costa Mesa safe. Your work is lasting, as is your memory.