William “Billy” Kearns, a 32-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department, died Sunday at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center in East Hartford. He was 86.
Our colleague Steven Goode wrote about the man nicknamed “2412 Kearns,” a reference to the state statute on DUIs. By 1959, Kearns had made more than 250 DUI arrests as a cop, Goode reported. He also captured convicted rapist Raymond Leblanc in 1957.
Before that, however, Kearns was a young welterweight in Hartford who fought more than 100 professional bouts, Goode wrote. “Kearns took his combative skills to the police job in 1952 and quickly earned a reputation for sniffing out trouble and bad guys.”
Kearns’ funeral services are set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the John F. Tierney Funeral Home in Manchester. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kearns’ memory to the Connecticut Humane Society, 701 Russell Road, Newington, CT 06111.
UPDATE: Here is the Courant editorial board’s remembrance of Kearns, “the kind of cop they make movies about.” It’s worth a read.