ID 3241
SDPD 09/17/1981 - 09/15/2000
1957 - 02/24/2004
All Bobby D. Wight ever wanted to be was a police officer.

During a 20-year career cut short by medical problems, he had a right to wear the uniform of the San Diego Police Department with more than the usual pride.

It was his design of a shoulder patch, superimposed with a city seal, that the department introduced on its jackets and shirts in July 1987.

While uniform design and colors have changed over the years, the original logo remains.

Mr. Wight, who retired from the department as a Northern Division detective in September 2000, died Feb. 24 at Paradise Valley Hospital. He was 47.

The cause of death was complications from diabetes and a heart condition, said his former wife of 20 years, Beverly Wight.

After decades without a distinctive shoulder patch, the SDPD sponsored a design competition in 1986 despite the protests of some tradition-bound officers.

Mr. Wight, a harbor unit officer at the time, submitted the winning emblem -- a 4-by-4 1/2 -inch brown-and-gold triangle to complement the tan uniforms of the day.

As the owner of a business he called Cop Art Designs, Mr. Wight also designed logos for various police units and a novelty T-shirt that was well-received by sheriff's deputies and longtime Sheriff John Duffy.

The front of the T-shirt read "Duffy's Hotels of San Diego -- Six Convenient Locations, Uniformed Chauffeur Service, Live Entertainment." The back featured a drawing of County Jail.

"He did everything by hand," said Mark Butterfield, a former police colleague. "He was a tremendous artist. Some of his best designs, I thought, were for a Coast Guard narcotics unit. He did a lot with specialized units in the military -- logos and T-shirts."

Most of all, though, Mr. Wight enjoyed the challenges of law enforcement as he worked his way up the ranks to detective, his dream job.

"He was the most detail-oriented police officer I've ever worked with," said Butterfield, a veteran of 20 years with three different agencies. "The best cop, and the best detective."

While assigned to the Special Enforcement Division, Mr. Wight became so familiar with the gang culture of southeastern San Diego that he teamed with Butterfield in writing a manual that was used for training at the Police Academy.

The product of 18 months of work, the manual profiled gangs and their members, detailing their neighborhoods, colors and crime tendencies.

"If you gave Bobby a project, he would never give up," Butterfield said. "It didn't matter who you went after or the consequences. When there appears to be a brick wall, a lot of people give up. He was extremely tenacious. He figured out a way to get through the wall and take care of business."

Mr. Wight received many commendations during his career, including a medal in 1995 for organizing a cleanup in the Otay River Valley to solve crime problems. In 1994, he was the SDPD's nominee for San Diego County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

"His work was his passion," said Beverly Wight. "He wanted desperately to be a detective and he made it 3 1/2 years ago."

Mr. Wight, who lived in San Carlos, was born in Murray, Utah.

He moved to San Diego as a youth and graduated from Morse High School, where he lettered in swimming and drew cartoons for the yearbook and student newspaper.

He joined a cadet program with the El Cajon Police Department and later worked in security, including a job as a campus police officer at Grossmont College.

Determined to make a career out of law enforcement, he entered the San Diego Regional Police Academy as an open enrollee, paying his way without a sponsoring agency.

After graduating in July 1980, he waited until November 1981 before being sworn in as an SDPD officer.

In March 1986, Mr. Wight was one of seven officers assigned to the fledgling San Diego harbor unit to patrol the waters of Mission Bay.

Survivors include his son, Brian James Wight, a student at Patrick Henry High School; father, Robert Wight of El Cajon; sister, Victoria Wight of San Diego; and brothers, Dick and Terry Wight, both of San Diego.
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