Hero Down: Glen Ridge Police Officer Charles 'Rob' Roberts Succumbs To COVID-19
Glen Ridge, NJ – Glen Ridge Police Department (GRPD) Officer Charles “Rob” Roberts died on Monday, following a valiant battle against COVID-19.
The 45-year-old officer tested positive for COVID-19 sometime prior to his heart abruptly stopping on the morning of April 21, according to the Glen Ridge Police Department (GRPD).
“Glen Ridge Officers responded to his aid and began life saving measures along with our Volunteer Ambulance Corps,” the department said in a Facebook post at the time. “They were able to successfully transport him to Mountainside Hospital where he is receiving treatment.”
Law enforcement officers and residents from throughout the state gathered outside the hospital on April 22 to show their support for the veteran officer.
Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 58 President Officer Joe Uliano said that the group of supporters, who were wearing masks and practicing social distancing, gathered out in the parking lot directly across from Officer Roberts’ hospital room window, NJ.com reported.
“We are hopeful that he heard our presence out here,” Officer Uliano said. “He’s fighting. He’s hanging in.”
Officer Uliano noted that as far as local residents are concerned, Officer Roberts “isn’t just a police officer,” NJ.com reported.
“Everybody knows him. He’s lived in Glen Ridge the entire time he’s worked here,” he said. “He truly is Mr. Glen Ridge. He’s the unofficial mayor.”
Officer Roberts, a married father of three, has also participated in many charitable groups, coached sports, and mentored the community’s youth.
“Rob is someone who would give money to people who didn’t have a ride or enough money to get a taxi to get home,” Officer Uliano told NJ.com. “That’s the kind of guy he is.”
Officer Roberts “lost his long and valiant battle against COVID-19” on Monday, the PBA said in a Facebook post.
“Another hero is lost today,” the post read. “Please keep Rob, his family and the Glen Ridge Police in your thoughts and prayers.”
Officer Roberts joined the GRPD in 2000, according to the Bergen Record.
During his two decades on the force, he served as a field training officer, detective, and as a D.A.R.E. officer, among other duties, WCBS reported.
He was the highest-raking officer in the GRPD’s Patrol Division at the time of his death.
“I don’t believe I ever saw him without a smile on his face,” Glen Ridge Mayor Stuart Patrick told WCBS. “He will be sorely missed by everyone.”
Borough Administrator Michael Zichelli said that Officer Roberts was a positive presence in Glen Ridge.
“He always took the time to support his fellow officers along with the residents of Glen Ridge,” Zichelli said. “His generosity and caring manner touched so many people.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Glen Ridge Police Department Officer Charles “Rob” Roberts, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.