MORGANTOWN — Retiring WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts said he will miss the people, when he addressed those at his retirement party Wednesday.
Those people said they will miss Roberts’ sense of humor.
“I’ll forever be proud to have served as your police chief,” Roberts said.
Roberts, 61, has spent the last 28 years as chief and 33 years with the department, but he said he’s retiring on his terms and that it’s simply time to do so.
“It kind of crept up on me today. You know it’s coming. You don’t think it’s going to be emotional, but, you know, it is,” incoming Chief W.P. Chedester said of his friend, mentor and boss, whom he’s worked for his entire career.
It wasn’t just active officers who came to wish Roberts farewell; about a dozen retirees, including the man who helped train Roberts, were in attendance. Solomon Lemley, who spent 26 years with the department and retired in 1996, said Roberts never gave him trouble and always did what needed to be done. Solomon also praised his abilities as a chief.
Roberts said it’s the people he’s going to miss most.
“Truly this is all about the people and the people we serve,” he said. “I’ve always believed we’re a part of the community and the more we’re involved the better off the department is.”
Chedester said he plans to focus on the safety and security of the students and campus and will continue Roberts’ legacy of community interaction.
“I want to make him proud,” he said.
Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer said Roberts was a great asset to the entire county, not just the WVU campus. He said the two departments work hand-in-hand and Roberts was always willing to do what needed to be done.
“His jokes were second to none,” Palmer said.
Morgantown Fire Chief Mark Caravasos echoed that sentiment and said Roberts made interagency cooperation easy.
“He’s a great guy. He’s been here as long as I’ve been in the department,” he said.
Roberts doesn’t know what he’s going to do to fill his new-found free time, but he said he’s sure his wife of 43 years has plans he doesn’t know about.
WVU President Gordon Gee credited Roberts for an excellent career in a very difficult job. Things aren’t always black and white when dealing with 18-to-21-year-olds taking advantage of their last chance to be responsibly irresponsible, he said.
He said Roberts, who was named 2018 Chief of the Year by the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators, was the epitome of what it means to be campus police.
“Once a Mountaineer always a Mountaineer,” Roberts said, ending his speech and career to a standing ovation.