Sergeant Thomas Tunney has been named Officer of the Year by the Wilton Police Department.
Tunney, a 28-year veteran of the department who supervises the evening shift, received the honor at a ceremony Monday night. Chief Michael Lombardo presented him with the award.
In October, Tunney responded to motor vehicle accident in which the car was on fire and the operator was trapped inside. He was first on scene, and broadcast the situation to other responders.
"The fire had quickly spread to include the engine and interior compartment of the vehicle," the department said in a press release. "Despite the obvious danger and likelihood of serious personal injury, Sgt. Tunney ran to the burning vehicle through heavy brush and located the driver, who was severely injured and trapped in the vehicle."
"Using fire extinguishers passed to him by Officers Rob Cipolla and Anna Tornello, Sgt. Tunney repeatedly extinguished the victim’s lower extremities and vehicle interior to allow his repeated attempts to pull the driver out of the burning wreck," the release says. "It was with the exhaustion of the last fire extinguisher at hand that Sgt. Tunney was finally able to extract the driver completely from the flames. Wilton Fire personnel quickly arrived at the scene and assisted with moving the victim to a safer distance from the flames while the vehicle was further extinguished."
After that transpired, Tunney continued to direct police personnel and secure the scene, while directing the investigation.
"Incidents of this nature are the ultimate test of character as a police officer and as a human being," the release says. "Sgt. Tunney passed this test of character with flying colors being worthy of the department’s highest recognition, the Medal of Honor. Sgt. Tunney has also been nominated for the Carnegie Hero Fund Award and the American Red Cross Community Hero’s award."
In 2008, Sgt. Tunney also received a life saving award when he assisted with the delivery of a new born, according to the release.
"The actions of Sgt. Tunney, Officers Cipolla and Tornello, directly contributed to the saving of the operator’s life," the release says. "They each displayed a high level of professionalism and bravery."