The 58-year-old Kubert, who has served on the Bayonne Police Department for 36 years, was named acting police chief in September 2003 replacing retiring Chief Frank Pawlowski.
Born in Alexandria, Va., Kubert has spent most of his life in Bayonne. Kubert joined the police department on March 3, 1969, as a patrolman and later served as a detective assigned to the juvenile division. He was promoted to sergeant in June 1980, then to lieutenant in January 1986. In December 1994, he was promoted to captain and became deputy chief less than three years later in August 1997 - and his duties included overseeing the detective bureau, the patrol division and the community relations unit.
Although he officially took over as chief in November 2004, Kubert's swearing-in was held until Feb. 25.
Mayor Joseph Doria in speaking before the assembly of area dignitaries from throughout Hudson County, Bayonne police officers and a supportive public, celebrated Kubert's achievements and called policing "a very important profession" that benefits the citizens, but often does not get all the credit it deserves.
Doria called Kubert "a dedicated public servant," whose swearing in has brought out current and past Bayonne police officials, and police officials from Jersey City, Weehawken, Union City, Kearny, East Newark, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as officials from the federal government DEA.
"This is an historic occasion," said Council President Vincent Lo Re, calling it a rare changing of the guard. "Bayonne has not had a lot of police chiefs since 1869."
Lo Re said Kubert has been his friend since high school and that this swearing-in was not something either of them would have predicted when they were young.
"Life has a way of taking you down roads not planned," Lo Re said.
Former Mayor Dennis Collins said he had watched Kubert's career since 1969 calling him a credit to the Bayonne Police Department, and one of the reasons why crime dropped last year by 20 percent.
"That did not happen by chance," Collins said.
Some of the initiatives put into place since becoming acting chief included assigning regular police patrols to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail; developing strategies to combat vandalism; and implementing a new system to rotate officers.
Councilman Anthony Chiappone called this a very special occasion.
"I remember the chief's professionalism," he said. "He has worked himself up through the ranks."
In one of those touching yet humorous moments, Councilman John Halecky recalled a time when he and Kubert worked in a drug store as soda fountain attendants.
"I married the boss' daughter, he became a police officer," Halecky said. "I've watched his career and how he earned respect of everyone."
But Halecky said Kubert's efforts went well beyond his role as a police officer, but also included helping people behind the scenes, whether raising funds for a good cause or playing Santa Claus for needy kids.
Police Director Mark Smith said he had had the pleasure of working beside Kubert - a great police officer - for more than 22 years, from whom Smith learned the tools of the trade.
"Bob taught me the lesson of what it means to be a good human being," Smith said. "He not only did the job well, but treated people with the respect they deserved."
Kubert in his remarks joked about the transition from acting chief to chief.
"When I was named acting chief I remember saying, `all things come to people who wait and wait and wait,' then when waiting to go from acting chief to chief I thought how better things are the longer and longer and longer you wait."
Saying he felt as if he was walking on air, he called this day of his swearing-in a good day for him and for the City of Bayonne, and thanked friends, family and officials for their support.
"This is an honor and a privilege to be appointed chief," he said, vowing to keep this city safe, but noted that he cannot do this without the support of police officers and civilian staff that help make the department run.
Contact Al Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org