HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Law enforcement from around New England came together Saturday night to honor a fallen hero in a memorial hockey game at Trinity College’s Koeppel Sports Center.
On Sept. 6, an 18-year-old man allegedly fled a traffic stop and crashed into the cruiser of Hartford Police Det. Robert “Bobby” Garten, killing him and injuring his partner, Officer Brian Kearney.
Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, EMS and paramilitary — all wearing “Garten” jerseys — took the ice Saturday night. For the past 12 years, the blue line from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine have come together to support each other in a job most people can’t understand. A job that takes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep us safe.
“We all have families to go home to,” Officer Michael Elwood said. “I dispatch here in Hartford. All these guys I consider family and every officer from every different department. We’re all family, and that’s what it comes down to. We are all here to support one another.”
As life moves forward, they will never forget the sacrifices Garten, along with other first responders, killed or injured in the line of duty.
Two years ago, Farmington Police Officer James O’Donnell was nearly killed in the line of duty after police say he was run over by a driver fleeing the scene of a theft. The blue line was there for James and Kris O’Donnell and their family.
“It warms your heart like nothing you could possibly imagine,” Kris O’Donnell said. “That band of blue is something indescribable.”
The O’Donnell family supports the Garten family, Kearney and the entire Hartford Police Department.
Of Saturday’s event, Kris O’Donnell said, “Keep this in the public eye. This is important. These people put their lives on the line. It’s a great remembrance of Det. Bobby Garten and to all of law enforcement in the state of Connecticut.”
All proceeds from Saturday night’s game will go to the Det. Bobby Garten Memorial Fund.