EOW 09/06/2023 - Robert “Bobby” Garten
Hartford Police Detective Robert “Bobby” Garten, 34 of Newington, CT died tragically in the line of duty on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 when his police cruiser was struck by a vehicle fleeing a traffic stop. His partner sustained severe injuries in the crash as well. Left to mourn this unimaginable loss are his parents, Robert and Debra (Dounouk) Garten of Wethersfield, his brother, William Peter and wife Kimber Garten, his beloved nephews, Liam and Rory Garten and his grandmother, Barbara Dounouk, all of Wethersfield. He was predeceased by his grandparents, Peter A. Dounouk, Sr. and Robert W. Sr. and Barbara Garten and uncle, Peter A. Dounouk, Jr. He also leaves his aunt and godmother, Jodi Dounouk of Hebron and cousins, Bruce Robinson (Alaina) of Seattle, WA, Peter Robinson (Heather) of Vernon, and Cody Robinson of Hyannis, MA. The friends and other extended family members who will always treasure their memories of “the guy who was always smiling” are too numerous to mention. In addition to his biological family, he also leaves his partner, Officer Brian Kearney of the Street Crime Unit and all his brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement in the Hartford Police Department, including his ‘squad’ of friends and fellow officers who meant so very much to him.
Bobby was born and raised in Wethersfield, CT and in 2008 graduated from Watkinson School, where he made lifelong friends who are devastated by his passing. Summers of his youth were spent on the Connecticut Shore at his grandparents' beach house with his cousins. He earned his personal watercraft license at just twelve years old and spent many happy hours on his jet ski on Long Island Sound. He earned an Associate Degree at New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island before pursuing his dream of following in his father’s footsteps to become a Hartford Police Officer. Bobby graduated from the Police Academy in 2015 and began his career which he loved and in which he excelled. During his eight years on the force, he received numerous awards and citations. His peers and commanding officers describe him as a consummate professional who always brought honor, integrity, and compassion to the uniform and Badge 1781, which he was so proud to wear. He was a courageous yet calming presence under pressure and in the face of dangerous circumstances. Officer Garten made people feel safe and protected. Unbeknownst to him, Bobby had been selected for promotion to Detective in the coming weeks and the HPD posthumously promoted him following his passing. Unfailingly upbeat, eager to volunteer for new challenges, and to make a positive difference in the community he served, Bobby was involved in many organizations within the HPD. He was a Field Training Officer and a member of both the HPD Marine Division and the Street Crime Unit. He was a Member of the Emerald Society (and loved the St. Patrick’s Day parade!), the Italian Officers Association, and was a Second Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
In addition to his role in law enforcement, friends and family knew Bobby as a person of varied interests and talents. He was a diehard Whalers fan since childhood and an ardent supporter of the Hartford Yard Goats. He was an avid gamer and was especially talented at jigsaw puzzles, famously finishing a 1500 piece puzzle in a day and a half. As a young man, he attended Trinity Parish in Wethersfield where he served as an acolyte and was involved in the Youth Group. At the age of 13, he joined the Sea Cadets in Plainville, CT and was thrilled to be on the water in a uniform! In high school, he took a service trip to Ghana which left a lasting impression on him. Quiet and never one to seek the spotlight, Bobby was nonetheless interested in everything and everyone around him and was always, always observing; trying to see how he could encourage and support those he loved. He was the “strong, silent type” but with a smile that lit up the room.
Family, friends, and representatives from Police Departments across the country will come together to honor Detective Garten and his service on Friday, September 15 from 2-7 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts Park (home of the Hartford Yard Goats), 1214 Main Street, Hartford. A Celebration of Life Service will take place on Saturday, September 16 at 10 a.m. at the XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford. Burial will be private. The D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, Wethersfield has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.
The Garten family would like to thank the Trauma Team at St. Francis Hospital for their efforts to administer aid to Bobby against insurmountable odds and for their kind compassion and respect toward our family after his passing. We would also like to acknowledge the outpouring of support and assistance provided by the Hartford, Wethersfield, and Newington Police Departments. Knowing that Bobby was respected and admired within your brotherhood brings us comfort in these days of so much sorrow. To our friends and family, your support as we bear the unbearable is a blessing we cannot do without. The Detective Robert “Bobby” Garten Memorial Fund has been established to support causes that were important to Bobby. Donations in his memory made out to “The Detective Robert “Bobby” Garten Memorial Fund” may be sent to 120 Willow Street, Wethersfield, Connecticut 06109. To share a memory of Bobby with his family, please visit www.desopofuneralchapel.com.
Bobby, you are gone but not forgotten. We will hold you in our hearts forever. May your beautiful smile remain with you as you Rest in Peace in God’s loving care. Be safe. Love you.
President FOP Lodge 30