GLEN RIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Officer Charles Roberts, praised by his peers as “the face of the Glen Ridge Police Department,” died Monday from coronavirus-related illness at the age of 45.

Roberts had been hospitalized in New York City for about three weeks due to COVID-19. His death marks the first time in Glen Ridge’s 125 year history that one of its police officers has died in the line of duty.

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“I don’t believe I ever saw him without a smile on his face,” said Mayor Stuart K. Patrick. “He will be sorely missed by everyone.”

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Roberts was the most senior officer within the patrol division and served as a detective and field training officer. He was also a DARE/LEAD instructor and reached out to the community as a car seat installer and bicycle officer with youth.

He also supported charity runs for Special Olympics and represented Glen Ridge in the Tunnel to Towers Run.

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“Officer Roberts was such a positive presence in our town,” said Borough Administrator Michael P. Zichelli. “He always took the time to support his fellow officers along with the residents of Glen Ridge. His generosity and caring manner touched so many people.”