Since 1995, Jason Roebuck has served and protected, caught some bad guys and provided a great deal of leadership to the Long Branch and Monmouth County communities.

26-years after becoming a police officer, Long Branch Police Chief Jason Roebuck is preparing for his final shift, announcing his retirement effective June 1 and will be moving to Charleston, South Carolina.

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"I've been in charge of the department for 8-years, I've done a lot of what I wanted to do and I got a job offer that I really liked," Chief Roebuck tells Townsquare Media News. "My family and I have always wanted to move down to the Charleston area at some point in our lives and this was the time."

The decision to retire was something that he thought about and made on his own, it was just that the opportunity for this new job was too good to pass up.

"It came up earlier than I thought, but it seemed like the right move to make," Roebuck said.

While challenging, the Covid pandemic did not lead to him retiring.

"It did not have any bearing on my decision, it was more of what was right for me and my family, but certainly the last year was tough, but hopefully we're moving out of that soon and we seem to be doing better every day and hopefully all that will clear up in the not so distant future," Roebuck said.

Over the last 26-years he has had the opportunity to learn and grow alongside a number of law enforcement officers and has been able to pass on what he's learned to those who have entered the field.

"I've learned over the years that you have to be involved with the people that you work for which means the citizens of the city that you work for," Roebuck said.

As he was up and coming in his first few years in law enforcement, he came out thinking it was chasing after the bad guys and running after people but began to learn how important it was to form relationships with people in the community and reaching out to them, which is more of the job.

"I don't know if I bought into it my first 5-years but then I slowly learned that you can't do this job without those contacts and without those relationships and that's what I try and preach to the younger guys," Roebuck said. "Yes, we want you to go out there and arrest bad people, that's your job but we also need you to make relationships with the people that you work for, the people of the city that you work for because that's so important as you rise up through the ranks but it's something that you should start when you're young and you should not only do it with the people of the city but other law enforcement agencies."

Forming a bond with other law enforcement agencies not only builds that peer support but also forms relationships that come into play in a lot of different ways including multi-agency investigations.

"I always tell them that you need to go out there and meet other people, you can't be insular, it does take a village and you need help from other people and you need to make those relationships," Roebuck said.

Throughout his time in law enforcement, there have been a myriad of days and moments where he went home proud and happy to be a cop, other days where he and other officers overcame a challenge by working together, all help with the memories of the not so good days.

One such day, moment that he puts near the top of the list took place in 2020.

"We had some protests in Long Branch about a year ago and we were really able to work with the people who decided to have it and let people protest and expand on their rights and we walked with them, we worked with them and at the end of the day everybody went home safe and relatively happy and no one got hurt, nothing got broken or smashed or anything like that," Roebuck said. "At the end of the day, it was all worth it."

With calls for defunding police and attacks, verbal and physical, growing in recent years, even prior to 2020, there's been some hesitancy building among some interested in a career in law enforcement and worry that they may be judged and attacked because they wear a badge.

To those coming up now or contemplating a career in law enforcement in the face of what's going on right now, Chief Roebuck encourages you to be courageous and to talk about it.

"You can't be afraid to speak about it, it's not all going to be nice. As for advice, I'd tell them, just know what you're getting yourself into these days, you're going to be on video all the time and if that's not something you can handle, maybe you should think about something else," Roebuck said. "But, I would tell you about 99-percent of the time that if you act how you should act and you do what you should do, you won't have any issues and I think that's what we've been able to see locally. There will be some bad days, there will be some bad times, there will be some bad incidents and we tell them that this isn't 35-years ago when no one wanted to speak about it. There's plenty of resources out there and you need to speak up if something's not right."

As he looks back in his final weeks on the job, Chief Roebuck is proud of the journey he's been on in law enforcement.

"I came on at a great time, I was able to work with great people, we had a lot of fun, we had a lot of good times, we did a lot of good work together," Roebuck said. "Being the Chief was a great honor and one of the best things was being able to focus the department on what I thought was important."

Chief Roebuck is a Blue Hero moving onto his next chapter in life.

Thank you for your service.

The Asbury Park Press was first to report Chief Roebuck's retirement and his move to South Carolina.

Here is a 2020 episode of Townsquare Media's 'Ask The Chief' with Chief Jason Roebuck:

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