Farmington police officer returns to active duty after recovery

Farmington police officer returns to active duty after injury
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 2:49 PM EDT
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FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) – It was a very special day for the Farmington Police Department.

An officer who was nearly killed in the line of duty returned to work Monday.

One year ago, Officer James O’Donnell suffered extensive injuries while responding to a call.

After a lengthy recovery and determination, he’s now back on duty.

One by one O’Donnell shook the hands of the men and women of the Farmington Police Department.

You can watch the surprise here:

The Farmington department got together to welcome back Officer James O’Donnell to his first patrol shift.

He’s back in uniform, working his first 12-hour shift since the incident that nearly took his life one year ago.

“I’m doing well and excited to be back today,” said O’Donnell.

During the early morning hours of September 20, 2021 O’Donnell responded to a call and was struck by a suspect in a stolen car.

32-year-old Pedro Acevedo was behind the wheel.

Dash camera video shows the driver slamming into O’Donnell as he attempted to take off.

The officer’s pelvis was shattered and two bones in his foot broke.

The road to recovery hasn’t been easy.

“It was really slow and a very tedious and very trying process. I had to relearn how to walk. And change how I did things,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell was determined to make it back to work.

“I told the chief right then and there that night in the emergency room that I was gonna be back and I wasn’t going to go against that promise,” said O’Donnell.

The father of two had to undergo rehab and three surgeries.

“It was consistently about when can I comeback and every update he gave me, he gave the command staff was always, I will be back and you can’t do that without willpower and he certainly has that,” said Farmington Police Chief Colin Ryan.

O’Donnell said the outpouring of support he’s received has helped keep him going.

“It’s incredible, absolutely incredible,” he said.

O’Donnell’s 12-hour patrol shift will wrap up Monday at the same time he responded to that life altering call one year ago.

It’s a full circle moment for a man determined to return to the line of duty stronger.

“It’s an amazing feeling just to get through all this,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell is still undergoing physical therapy. He’s also working on getting his master’s and hopes to eventually become a detective.

The suspect remains behind bars and the investigation is ongoing.