Colleagues, family gather for fallen Hartford detective’s ‘Celebration of Life’

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 8:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2023 at 9:02 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A ‘Celebration of Life’ for a fallen Hartford detective happened on Saturday morning.

The ceremony for Det. Bobby Garten at the XL Center in Hartford started at 10 a.m. A private memorial and burial service followed.

Det. Garten was young, hard-working, and was very much liked.

“You never know when you put that badge on in the morning, you never know what can happen during the day,” said Dep. Chief Daniel Lauer, Waterbury Police.

“At a time like this it’s so important that the whole population, everyone whether in law enforcement, public service, or any job, that we come together and support,” said Jarrett Bell, Patrol Officer Danbury Police Department.

Det. Garten worked with Hartford’s Street Crimes Unit to get illegal guns off city streets.

“We will honor Bobby and never forget the good he did, the way that he did it, and the sacrifice he made to our community,” said Chief Jason Thody, Hartford Police Department.

Garten’s older brother, William, says Bobby knew the dangers, and called his mom every day.

“My mom always ended the call with, ‘be safe,’” Bobby would respond, ‘always am, love you,’” William said.

“God has made us for a purpose in this world, and we all have different roles to play, and he knew his role was clear,” said Officer Bell.

Bobby’s partner, Officer Brian Kearney, survived the crash. He was just released from the hospital.

His words brought many to tears.

“Something happened to us... We were supposed to be together. But Bob was the better partner, he saved my life that night by sacrificing his,” Kearney said. “I am here because Bob took such good care of me.”

Officer Kearney took his own Medal of Valor and placed it on Bobby’s casket, dedicating it to him.

“People like Detective Garten are doing the best they can for people, and putting their lives on the line,” said Officer Michael Hunt, Officer Kearney’s Friend.

Road closures were scheduled for the funeral today.

Effected streets included Market Street, Pleasant Street, Trumbull Street, Church Street, Ann Uccello Street, Allyn Street, and Main Street.

State police also warned of delays on Interstates 91 and 84 in the Hartford area.

Parking and shuttle service was available for attendees at 7:30 a.m. Saturday from the locations of 1257 Main St., 310 Market St., 330 Market St. and 275 Windsor St. Other parking options were also be available near the XL Center.

A wake happened Friday afternoon at Dunkin’ Park in Hartford.

Garten died Sept. 6 when the cruiser he was in was t-boned by a fleeing suspect. Another officer who was also in the cruiser, Brian Kearney, was hurt. Kearney was recently released from the hospital.

Garten began his law enforcement career at The Hartford Police Department on March 23, 2015.

He was described by Hartford police as a second-generation Hartford police officer.

During his time as an officer, he served in the patrol division, held a walk-beat position, was a member of the Hartford police marine division, crime reduction team, and was assigned to the North Street crimes unit. He was also a field training officer.

“Det. Bobby Garten loved Hartford and served this city with tremendous commitment, courage, and compassion,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “He led a distinguished career and we are forever grateful for all that he gave to our community and to the Hartford Police Department family. Our prayers are with his parents, his family, his loved ones, and his brothers and sisters in the Hartford Police Department. This weekend’s services provide an opportunity for Det. Garten’s loved ones and our entire community to celebrate his life and honor his service.”

Det. Garten earned five awards for his performance in the field:

  • Unit Citation was awarded to Det. Garten and his unit, the Crime Reduction Team, when during the Summer Initiative from April 4, 2021- Oct. 2, 2021, were tasked with deterring violent crime within the City of Hartford. Through their efforts, the unit seized 80 illegal firearms, recovered 34 stolen vehicles, served 76 arrest warrants, conducted over 2,600 motor vehicle stops and seized an abundance of money and illegal narcotics.
  • Unit Citation was awarded to Detective Garten and his Street Crimes Unit for their collective efforts between Oct. 3, 2021, through Dec. 2022, where their mission was to deter violent crimes in the city. As a result of this mission, 171 illegal firearms were seized, 1,555 grams of crack-cocaine, over 8,000 bags of fentanyl, $51,081 in illegal narcotics profits were sized and 15 stolen vehicle arrests were made.
  • Merit Award was awarded to Det. Garten, when he, along with Officer Kearney and another detective conducted a motor vehicle stop on Oct. 22, 2021. This stop led to the seizure of an AR-15 style rifle with a 60-round magazine, numerous rounds of ammunition and the arrest of a convicted felon.
  • Merit Award was awarded to Det. Garten, when he, Officers Barron, Doyle, Spencer and Kearney spotted a vehicle of interest in a homicide. After a short pursuit, the occupants were taken into custody. All of the vehicle’s occupants were wanted in relation to a string of robberies, shootings and a homicide within the City of Hartford.
  • The Distinguished Service Award was issued to Det. Garten for an investigation that occurred on April 14, 2022. Garten, along with Officers Kearney, Bohm and Dube responded to 20 Gillette St. on a report of a male on the street actively firing a gun into a nearby apartment. The officers immediately responded to the area and observed an individual matching the description of the suspect. When officers approached, the suspect fled on foot. The officers chased the suspect and observed that he was holding a firearm in his hand. The suspect fled behind a building, where he was apprehended and the firearm recovered.

Due to his dedication, performance and professionalism to the residents of the City of Hartford, Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody posthumously promoted Garten from officer to the rank of detective as of Sept. 6.

A memorial fund was established in Garten’s honor.

The Detective Robert “Bobby” Garten Memorial Fund was established by William Garten and Kimber Garten.

“Our goal is to raise funds and spread awareness for causes that were near and dear to Bobby’s heart. Bobby was a true hero who dedicated his life to serving and protecting others,” the family said.