ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury Police Department on Friday said goodbye to Patrolman Silvio Valdes, one of its most beloved officers, who retired after 27 years in law enforcement.
Members of the department lined up outside of the police station in Ledgewood at 4 p.m. to bid farewell to Valdes in a traditional police “walk out” ceremony. A group of friends, colleagues from other police agencies and local officials also attended the event.
Valdes began his law enforcement career in 1992 as a United States Border Patrol agent. He was hired by Roxbury two years later.
“After working the road for several years and assisting the Detective Bureau with undercover operations, he found his niche when he was transferred to the Community Service Unit,” said the police department in a farewell post on Facebook.
Valdes worked as a stone mason before moving to police work and he continues to do masonry and other home improvement jobs on the side. His construction skills came in handy in 2016 when he and his family volunteered their time to repair some dilapidated steps on the walking path between Righter Road and Roxbury High School.
Doing things like that earned Valdes a reputation as a multi-talented good guy both in and out of the police department.
“In Headquarters, he is the guy we all turn to,” said the police department’s post on Facebook. “Questions about cars and construction. Questions about masonry work and plumbing. He has the answers to all our questions. Every department has a guy like this, but no department has a Silvio.”
His colleagues pointed out, in the post, that “it wasn’t uncommon to ask him a question about a project and the next day have him show up at your house to help. Or for him to walk into Headquarters and tell you that your tire was low, so he put air in it for you. Or for the ladies who work the front desk to walk out of headquarters to find he cleaned the snow off their windshields.”
Tales of Kindness
The anecdotes seem to be endless. Two months ago, the department pointed out how Valdes – an avid bicyclist - purchased two bikes (so far) for a man who rides a bicycle to work each day.
“He is the guy who will buy the person behind him a cup of coffee,” said the department’s post. “Or, while leaving a restaurant, give money to a waitress to buy dinner for the struggling family of four. He is the guy who stepped up to take Joey Franklin’s place in the Unity Tour, days after Joey died in an accident.”
In a brief, unscripted speech to those attending his ceremony, Silvio made a point of thanking former Roxbury Police Chief Mark Noll for hiring him. “Back in 1994 he hired me kind of like on a handshake,” Valdes said. “I’m very grateful that he hired me.”
He also said that working for Roxbury has been an honor. “Thank you so much for coming,” Valdes said. “I love you all.”
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