On September 21, California law enforcement suffered its fourth line of duty death of a motor officer during year 2003. Corporal Tyler M. Pinchot became the thirteenth officer in the state to lay down his life during the year, while he was serving and protecting the residents of Buena Park.
On the afternoon of June 13, 2003, Motor Officer Corporal Pinchot was assigned to traffic enforcement detail in his city and was pursuing a traffic violator when he was accidentally struck from the rear by a vehicle traveling in the same direction. The Corporal suffered major injuries to his head and other areas of his body. He was airlifted to the UCI Medical Center in Orange in critical condition and remained at that facility in a coma until his death on September 21.
Tyler M. Pinchot was born to be a cop. At the tender age of nineteen he served as a Police Cadet in his hometown of Garden Grove. He also served as Community Service Officer in that city until 1980, when he paid his own way through the Golden West Police Academy. Now qualified to become a full-fledged peace officer, a twenty-two year old Tyler M. Pinchot was hired as a police officer in the City of Buena Park. For the next twenty-three years this forty-five year old “natural” had an outstanding career serving the community he loved. He worked as a patrol officer, traffic investigator and for the last nine years he was a motor officer. Attesting to his outstanding performance, Pinchot’s personnel file bulges with more than 123 commendations and letters of appreciation praising the quality of his work, his caring and empathetic attitude, his kindness, and his willingness to do whatever he could to help others. Supporting his reputation of excellence, Pinchot was selected as the Buena Park “Police Officer of the year” for both years 1991 and 1992. He is the only officer in the history of the Department to win this prestigious award in two consecutive years.
Corporal Pinchot was admired and respected by each and every member of the Buena Park Police Department. His performance and reputation as an outstanding teacher, leader and mentor enhanced an already enviable image. Richard Tefank, who recently retired as the Chief of Police in Buena Park, remembered Tyler Pinchot as “a police chief’s dream, the consummate professional in every respect”.
On Thursday morning, September 25, 200 motorcycle officers rode through the streets of Buena Park, their red and blue lights flashing as they led an equal number of black and white police vehicles. In the middle of the procession was a navy blue S.W.A.T. vehicle, not carrying tactical weapons, but a casket and the remains of a fallen comrade, Corporal Tyler M. Pinchot.
The motorcade made its’ way to the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove where more than 2,000 relatives, friends, co-workers And peace officers, representing a multitude of jurisdictions, had gathered to pay their respects.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer was once again in attendance and eulogized Pinchot as “a gentle giant and outstanding public servant”. Buena Park Police Chief Gary Hicken praised Pinchot as “the real thing; a police officer totally committed to helping others”.
Following the services at the Crystal Cathedral Corporal Tyler M. Pinchot was laid to rest on the hillside of Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange. In an expression of what Tyler would have wanted a replica of his badge was engraved on the cover of his casket.
Corporal Tyler M. Pinchot is survived by his wife, Susie Snider-Pinchot, three stepchildren, his mother and father, two brothers and three sisters.
Contributions in memory of Corporal Pinchot may be sent to: Buena Park Police Association – Tyler M. Pinchot Memorial Fund, P. O. Box 579, Buena Park, CA 90621.