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Hundreds Mourn Greenwich's Chief Peter Robbins

GREENWICH, Conn. –  Those who knew retired Greenwich Police Chief Peter J. Robbins best said he would have appreciated, more than anyone, all the “pomp and circumstance” during his funeral Saturday at St. Mary’s Church and Parish.

The police department honor guard the former chief established before his retirement in 2002, a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace” and the police officers who carried his American-flag-draped casket marched among the nearly 300 people who paid their final respects to Robbins, who died suddenly Monday at age 66 at his home in Delaware.

“Yeah, he loved being a cop and dedicated his life to the Greenwich Police Department,” Robbins' brother, Dave Carole, 74, told mourners. “But he would have loved all of this, seeing all of you here to honor him in such grand style.”

Carole, a former Greenwich district fire chief, choked back tears recalling how proud their father -- former Police Chief David Robbins -- was the day his brother was sworn in as a cop in 1970.

“When I told the old man (their father) I was going to be a fireman, he said, 'What are you, some kind of a sissy?'” Carole said, drawing laughter from throughout the church. “But when Peter was sworn in as a cop, there was no greater thrill for his Pop than seeing his youngest son become a police officer.

Current Police Chief Jim Heavey said Robbins was a 'cop's cop' who cared about all of his officers.

“While we didn’t always see things the same way, I never doubted his professionalism and dedication to this department and to the town of Greenwich," Heavey said. "He led by example and was more than willing, even as chief, to jump into a situation and help out.”

Former First Selectman Dick Bergstresser, who served from 2001-03 and was in office when Robbins retired in 2002, said the former chief never stopped thinking like a cop on the beat – even when he was the department’s leader.

“One time there was an accident at 2 a.m., and there he was, out in the middle of the street directing traffic,” said Bergstresser. “It didn’t matter to him that he was the police chief, if something needed to be done, he did it.”

Robbins was appointed chief In September 1997. He won the Lions Club award for police officer of the year in 1990 for creating and leading of the department’s Special Response Unit. He also received the Good Conduct Medal and Army Commendation for his service in Vietnam.

After leaving the Police Department, Robbins worked as chief of security at Greenwich Hospital. At the time of his death he was the chief of uniformed services for the Delaware State Court System.

After the funeral service Saturday, Robbins was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery on North Street.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Greenwich Police Department's scholarship fund, c/o Chief’s Office, 11 Bruce Place, Greenwich, CT 06830.

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