The people of Glen Ridge came outside, standing in the sunshine, with their hands on their hearts, to honor Officer Charles Roberts.

Roberts’ death marked the first time in Glen Ridge’s 125-year history that a police officer has died in the line of duty. Roberts, 45, and a 20-year veteran of the GRPD, died from complications of COVID-19.

Glen Ridge paid tribute to Roberts with a memorial service, followed by a procession through the borough.

Glen Ridge Police Chief Sheila E. Byron-Lagattuta spoke at the memorial service.

“Office Charles Roberts, best known as Rob, served this town with honor, strength and courage. Rob wore a smile that was contagious. Everyone that knew him loved him, the loss of Officer Roberts is a devasting hardship for our police department, our community and Rob’s brothers and sisters in blue, who stand before you today,” said Glen Ridge Police Chief Sheila E. Byron-Lagattuta at the memorial service.

She spoke of horrible impact of COVID-19.

“But never have we had to imagine that we were going to have to fight an invisible enemy that would take Rob from his wife Alice and his three young children,” she said, adding how she had never seen a community come together like Glen Ridge.

Following the ceremony, a funeral escort procession traveled throughout Glen Ridge, consisting of family and members of the public safety community. Residents stood outside their homes and along Ridgewood Avenue with their hand over their heart as the procession passed.

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Photo/Youtube video: Erika Bleiberg