A longtime Atlanta police officer and former deputy chief Wesley Derrick died Friday, Jan. 29, 2010, after suffering a stroke several days earlier.
He was taken off life support Thursday afternoon, when his organs were harvested for donation, family members said.
A memorial service will be held on Feb. 6 near Derrick's home near Spring City, Tenn.
Derrick was closely attended by his loving wife of eight years, Donna Foland, many family members and close friends this week at Piedmont Hospital both before and after he lost consciousness.
Derrick, 63, joined the force in 1971 as a patrol officer. In 1995, he was promoted to deputy chief.
Derrick helped design a special red, white and blue millennium badge, worn by officers as a sign of unity in 2000. The badge featured a phoenix, and was popular among officers.
More than 1,000 officers purchased the $30 badges and wore them in Jan. 2000.
"We're very proud of the way it turned out, " Derrick told the AJC in Feb. 2000. "We may never have another one like it."
"Chief Derrick has served with distinction for over 30 years," former chief Richard Pennington said of Derrick's retirement. "He has done a magnificent job for both the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department."
Interim police chief George Turner said Derrick will be remembered as a successful leader.
"He was a hands-on kind of guy," Turner said.
Derrick, a graduate of Grady High and the University of Georgia, first tried his hand at teaching in Hall County before becoming a career lawman by joining the APD in 1971.
Working his way up from the rank of uniform officer, he was promoted to lieutenant in 1982 and captain in 1989. In 1991, he was promoted to major and in 1994 to deputy chief.
Ever the outdoorsman and hobbyist, after retiring from the APD in 2002, Derrick loved to visit Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee, where he would indulge his passions of boating, hunting, fishing. He also engaged in hands-on activities ranging from welding to blacksmithing to working on his one-seat airplane.
Summing up his outlook, Derrick's favorite saying was, “Is this a great country, or what?”