An East Hartford police officer injured in the line of duty got the city's top cop honor Thursday night.
Todd Lentocha, 41, was given the officer of the year award. Lentocha suffered from serious head injuries after a crash on Route 2 last year.
"This years officer of the year was unanimously recommended and it was a very east selection for me to choose Todd Lentocha as officer of the year," said East Hartford Police Chief Mark Sirois.
Lentocha not only got the recognition he deserves, but survived a horrible accident that left him in a coma for weeks.
"I'm not sure I deserve it, but I'm honored to receive it," Lentocha said.
The married father of two suffered serious head injuries after being hit from behind by a pick up truck. Investigators said he was parked safely in a squad car on the side of Route 2. The officer was assisting a surveillance operation.
"When I woke up from the coma I was told of all the things that happened on my behalf and it didn't surprise me," Lentocha said.
In the months that followed vigils were held, prayer services attended by hundreds and donations raised for him and his family. Lentocha retired from the department after losing his eyesight as a result of the accident.
"It was an honor and privilege to work for you and this town," he said. "I wish it could have lasted a little longer, but that's the way things go sometimes."
But Thursday was a day of celebration from the humble officer who says he wouldn't change a thing.
"I don't miss being a cop but I miss you," Lentocha said.
Lentocha also received the statewide officer of the year award last week at the Aqua Turf.
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