No matter the situation, Bobby Salerno could always make you laugh, usually with a dry -- and at times sarcastic -- humor that longtime police officers develop.
Things got serious earlier this year, however. Over the past several months, when you asked how he was doing, Salerno said he was "taking it one day a time."
Still, he kept up his sense of humor -- and kept working as long as he was able.
Those who knew Lodi Police Capt. Robert J. Salerno roundly praised the 32-year law enforcement veteran's dedication to public service after learning that he died on Sunday.
Salerno, 55, of Hasbrouck Heights worked as the division commander for the Lodi Police Department Records Bureau. He had a terrific memory, a “vast knowledge of law enforcement,” according to his colleagues, and the perfect temperment to serve as the public information officer.
But he wasn't just a police officer. Salerno was also a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Lodi, was on the Board of Education in Hasbrouck Heights and coached youth baseball.
"He was always a hard-working, caring officer," Richard Dandress wrote.
"Always kind and caring," Linda McDonald wrote.
Six years ago, the Lodi PBA Local #26 rallied to support Salerno and his family after fire ravaged their home, killing one of their dogs.
This time, PBA members, colleagues, loved ones and friends took up "Bobby's Battle" against liver cancer.
“To say the least, the loss of our friend and mentor will leave a huge hole in our department as well as our hearts,” the police department posted. “We ask that you pray for Capt. Salerno, the Salerno family, and his friends during this extreme loss and hardship. We at the PD are simply devastated at the loss of our colleague and friend. May you Rest In Peace sir. We will take it from here.”
Funeral arrangements were pending.
Click here to follow Daily Voice Garfield-Lodi and receive free news updates.