When the Wilton Police Department‘s Awards Ceremony will be held in two weeks, it will be the first year the department will give out an award created to honor the memory of Sergeant Thomas “TJ” Tunney, a beloved member of the police department who passed away in early January.

According to an announcement from the WPD, the Community Police Officer of the Year Award has been started to memorialize Tunney’s tremendous involvement with and care for the citizens of Wilton.

“Throughout Sergeant Tunney’s career the Police Department has received countless letters praising him for his involvement with the community. He was a great advocate for the people of Wilton and was well respected by his peers.”

The award will be given to a member of the Wilton Police Department who distinguishes him- or herself from other members of the force by his or her actions involving the Wilton Community. The award will acknowledge members of the Wilton Police Department who demonstrate outstanding service to the community with particular emphasis on the Wilton Police values of integrity, respect, professionalism, and community support.

Tunney started his career with the Wilton Police Department in 1985 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2000. He received many commendations during his career, as well as the Department Medal of Valor Award, one of the highest honors. Tunney was named Wilton’s Officer of the Year in 2013, and received the New England Association Chiefs of Police Medal of Valor as well as the American Red Cross Community Hero award that same year; those distinctions came after a heroic rescue he made at the scene of a car accident on Hurlbutt St., during which Tunney pulled a man from a crashed car that was engulfed in flames.

In 2008 Tunney and two other police officers helped deliver a baby in the parking lot of Splash Car Wash.

The award ceremony will take place Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m. at Trackside Teen Center on Station Rd.. Other awards that will be given out include:  Medal of Honor, Medal of Valor, Meritorious Police Service, Police Officer of the Year, Emergency Medical Service and Citation of Commendation.

The award ceremony is sponsored by both the Wilton Police Department and the Wilton Rotary Club.