An officer with the Glen Ridge (NJ) Police Department has died of the Coronavirus—COVID-19—according to a statement posted to the agency's Facebook page on Monday.
In the Facebook post, Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta announced that Officer Charles "Rob" Roberts is the first line-of-duty death within the history of the agency, which was established in 1895.
The post read, "At the age of 45, Rob fought a courageous battle against COVID-19 and passed away on May 11, 2020, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He had been hospitalized there for just shy of three weeks after members of his own squad and our volunteer ambulance squad came to his aide. The doctors and nurses at both Mountainside Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital all acted in valor to save his life."
Officer Roberts joined the Glen Ridge Police Department in 2000. Officer Roberts was so popular in the town he patrolled that people called him "Mr. Glen Ridge" or the "unofficial mayor."
Chief Byron-Lagattuta concluded in the social media post, "Officer Roberts worked tirelessly at keeping our community safe and I can say with certainty that he was known by face or name by both children and adults alike after serving the Borough for twenty years. Many were privileged to have met Officer Roberts in his official capacity as a bicycle officer, certified car seat installer, DARE/LEAD instructor. He held the honor of being the most senior officer within the patrol division and served as a detective and a field training officer within the department. Rob never missed an opportunity to support law enforcement races such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which benefits the Special Olympics; and the Tunnel to Towers Run, honoring the lives of first responders lost on September 11, 2001. Rob was a mentor within the department and the entire Borough; and today we have truly lost a hero to all."
Roberts is survived by his wife and three children.