Wilton Letter: Police Chief Applauds Department's Accomplishments

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Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo
Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo Photo Credit: File

Dear Editor:

It is with great pride that I announce some recent accomplishments of three members of the Wilton Police Department.

On Sept.10, Sgt. Thomas Tunney was awarded the New England Chiefs of Police Association Medal of Valor. Of the six New England states only one Medal of Valor is awarded annually.

On Oct. 9, 2012, Sgt. Tunney, a 28-year veteran of the Police Department rescued the operator of a car that had driven off the road, turned on its side and had caught fire, with the driver seriously injured and trapped inside. The mangled vehicle, at one point, was completely engulfed in flames, requiring immediate action if the operator was to be saved.

Sgt. Tunney, the first responder, made several attempts to reach inside the fiery vehicle to remove the driver. He was provided with fire extinguishers to assist in suppressing the flames and eventually, was able to free the driver from the vehicle and pull him from the driver’s door. Sgt. Tunney could have easily retreated from the burning vehicle, but he chose not to during his rescue, putting himself in peril, determined to save the life of the injured operator. Heroes, such as Sgt. Tunney, live by a moral code. They are selfless and abide by “Professional Honor Codes” says heroism researcher Zeno Franco, Ph.D. 

On Sept. 12, Officer Diane MacLean, a 12-year veteran officer of the department, rappelled down the side of a 16-story building in Stamford to raise money in support the Connecticut Special Olympics, “Over the Edge” fundraising campaign.

Officer MacLean raised more than $1,400 for the Connecticut Special Olympians this year. Officer MacLean is not the first officer to complete such a feat. Sgt. Robert Kluk also participated in a similar event, scaling the Mohegan Sun Casino building in past years.

For many years, members of the Police Department, such as Officer MacLean and Sgt. Kluk, have volunteered in a Tip-a-Cop event held locally to raise funding for the Connecticut Special Olympics. They have raised thousands of dollars over the years volunteering their time for such a worthy cause.

On Sept.10, Officer Gregg Phillipson, a 12-year veteran of the department, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sgt. Phillipson is presently the Training Officer for the department, a member of the Regional Emergency Response Team, an Accident Reconstructionist and a Field Training Officer of new recruits. Sgt. Phillipson has received many commendations throughout his career and in 2005 was named Officer of the Year.

I am very proud of the dedication and professionalism displayed by each of these officers. It is not just these events and these officers that make the Department a professional law enforcement agency but the Department’s dedication and desire to serve the community.

Sincerely, Chief Michael Lombardo Wilton Police Department

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