Officers DiPonzio and Paul Dondorfer have an unbreakable bond. The men were together when DiPonzio was shot in the back of the head during a routine investigation.
"He had just joined us from the sheriff's department. I think most of our interactions were me making fun of him because he was a Red Sox fan. I was a Yankee fan you know, we took some jobs together and that was that. Now we're essentially locked at the hip," Dondorfer said.'
Dondorfer and RPD investigator Jason Leckinger have been by DiPonzio's side throughout his recovery.
"As he gets better, so do all of us; the police department, his continued improvement and the milestones he reaches. That helps all of us heal from all that stuff," Leckinger said.
DiPonzio has made significant strides. He returned to work a little more than two years ago. In his new role he conducts background checks for new recruits and teaches them how to stay safe at the police academy.
"I absolutely love my job and that was something I worked hard to get to in the first place and I wasn't about to let that go without a fight," DiPonzio said.
DiPonzio had to fight for his life and the work is not done.
"There's certain things that come along slower. My left leg recovered at a much faster pace than my left arm so that was one of the drawbacks is just certain things are going to recover quicker than others," he said.
Through it all DiPonzio's positive attitude shines and has served as an inspiration to many.
"I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face I'm happy that I'm alive and awake and I just appreciate life so much more now," he said.
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