Glen Ridge police officer dies from coronavirus

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Glen Ridge Police Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta announced on May 11 that Officer Charles Roberts had died from COVID-19. The officer’s life had previously been saved by his fellow police officers on April 21 when his heart stopped due to complications from the virus. While Roberts remained in the hospital, the community created signs and displays across the borough in support of his recovery.

“It is with deep regret and sorrow that I, Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta, and the entire Glen Ridge Police Department announce the passing of our beloved Officer Charles ‘Rob’ Roberts. Officer Roberts, badge No. 69, is the first line-of-duty death within the history of the Glen Ridge Police Department, established in 1895,” Byron-Lagattuta said. “At the age of 45, Rob fought a courageous battle against COVID-19 and passed away on May 11 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 aid. The doctors and nurses at both Mountainside Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital all acted in valor to save his life.”

Roberts was raised in Livingston and joined the Glen Ridge Police Department in 2000. He and his wife, Alice, moved to Glen Ridge and have three children. 

“Officer Roberts was the face of the Glen Ridge Police Department and a shining example of an officer dedicated to serving the community,” Byron-Lagattuta said. “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 20 years. Many were privileged to have met Officer Roberts in his official capacity as a bicycle officer, certified car seat installer and 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,” she continued. “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 Sept. 11, 2001. Rob was a mentor within the department and the entire borough, and today we have truly lost a hero to all.”