Maxine “Max” Frances Rizzo of New Fairfield, who was a member of the Ridgefield Police Department for 27 years, died on Saturday, July 27, at Danbury Hospital.

She was 58 years old and the wife for 38 years of Richard Rizzo.

Ms. Rizzo was born on Feb. 25, 1955 in Danbury and joined the Ridgefield Police in January 1985.

Three years later, while on duty and responding to a call, her cruiser was hit by a car and she was seriously injured.

“She fought her way through her injuries and recovered to return to active duty,” said Police Chief John Roche.

Officer Rizzo was especially interested in fighting drunken driving. “She shared her knowledge and experiences by educating people on the dangers of drunk driving and speeding,” her family said.

She was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and local organizations for her efforts.

Officer Rizzo was also selected by the International Chiefs of Police Association “Survivor’s Club Program.”  In her accident her survival was attributed in part to her  wearing her bullet-proof vest.

“Police Officer Maxine Rizzo was one tough cop who believed in hard work, family values, service to the community of Ridgefield, and helping those in need,” Chief Roche said.

She retired in 2012 and became a homeland security officer.

Her interests included drag racing. In 1996, driving her 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1, she recorded the fastest time in her class at the “Original Beat the Heat Reunion,” a national drag racing event for police officers.

“She enjoyed the thrill of drag racing at many drag strips nationwide,” her family said. “She was an avid bingo player and volunteer at St. Peter’s Church and the VFW where she met many wonderful friends,”

Besides her husband, survivors include her daughter, Billie-Jo of New Fairfield; her brother, Craig Kovacs and his wife, Lori, of Southbury; her sister, Ann Kovacs of Brookfield;   her brother Phil Prinz and wife, Ann, of Brewster, N.Y.; and many nieces, nephews.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Church, Danbury, on Friday, Aug. 9, at 10:30 a.m. Entombment will follow at St Peter’s Cemetery, Danbury.

Calling hours will be at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, Danbury, on Thursday, Aug. 8, from 4 to 8.

Contributions may be made to help animals at the Best Friends Sanctuary, www.bestfriends.org. To sign a book of remembrance and offer condolences online, visit www.thegreenfuneralhome.com.