There has been an outpouring of condolences from neighboring fire and police departments over the past week after Malverne Police Department Sgt. Thomas Winters died suddenly of an unknown cause on July 3. He was 55.
Winters was a police officer in Malverne for 21 years. Before joining the department, he worked with the New York City Police Department’s Housing Bureau for 13 years, serving as a delegate for Police Service Area 9 in Ravenswood, Queens. Winters’s dedication to protecting the rights of the officers he worked with shaped his future as president of the Malverne Police Benevolent Association, a position he held for the past decade.
“Thomas Winters was one of the best police officers we had in this department,” Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett said. “He was intelligent, he was always friendly and above all, he was a consummate professional. Any job Tommy was given, he [gave] his all, and he always made sure to protect and serve the members of his community.”
Winters was also a lifelong member of the Elmont Fire Department’s Truck Co. No. 1. Another of his passions was Lynbrook Roller Hockey, in which he served as a coach, board member, friend and mentor for several years.
“As anyone who ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with Tommy will attest to, Tom was the go-to guy when things needed to get done,” the Malverne P.D. stated in a news release. “There was never a task too large or too menial for Tommy to tackle, and he did so without any fanfare or complaining.”
Malverne resident Regina Rochford recalled an incident on a hot summer day when she saw Winters helping an elderly woman with a child when her car became disabled. He immediately placed them in his air-conditioned police cruiser and brought them cold drinks from Nordon Drugs on Hempstead Avenue.
“Although I doubt he realized I was watching, I immediately noticed what a kind soul he was,” Rochford recounted. “I hope and pray that others are as kind and generous to his family as he was to our village.”
In 2017, Winters and Officer Brian Schmidt helped a woman who was in labor at her home on Atlas Avenue give birth to her son.
“In many ways, he was truly the heart of the Malverne Police Department,” Corbett said.
Winters was an avid New York Rangers fan, golfer and boater, but his biggest joy in life was his family. His wife, Julie, two sons, Brian and Christopher, and two daughters, Megan and Kelsey, were the light of his life, as described by the Police Department. Although he was known by many as a private person, Winters kept his colleagues up to date on his children’s lives.
Corbett said that in recent years, during the swearings-in of young Malverne police officers, he would challenge each of them to become the next Thomas Winters. “No one will ever be able to fill the shoes that Tommy has left behind, but those officers became little brothers to him,” Corbett said. “He looked out for them and showed them how to do the job appropriately. To the entire Winters family, please know that this village is behind you and with you not just in the early days, but for the years to come.”
The Police Department and the PBA created a GoFundMe page on July 7 to assist the family with funeral and burial costs. As of press time on Monday, it had raised $27,105. Winters’s funeral was scheduled for Wednesday at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.