Camden, N.J. – The theme for 2022’s Hispanic Heritage Month is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. Sgt. Miguel Rubert has served as a detective with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office since 1997 and he believes inclusivity and the resulting opportunities are key to building a stronger community.
Sgt. Rubert was born and raised in the City of Camden. He experienced first-hand the struggles of his community.
“In the 70’s and 80’s, the city was going through a transition. Unfortunately, there were many open-air drug markets and a lot of violence. But reflecting back, what really stood out to me was the resiliency of the community and the commitment to community outreach by both law enforcement and faith-based organizations.”
He said he was consistently inspired as a child to do good in the community by the clergy at the Holy Name Roman Catholic Church in Camden.
“When I was a growing up, there was a Jesuit priest who worked very hard to educate our community. The church knew that the youth needed support and positivity in their lives. The church accepted and supported us all. This combination of positive role models and a commitment to education opened the doors of opportunity to many within my community,” said Sgt. Rubert.
Sgt. Rubert was also greatly impacted by the first responders who served in his community.
“On a daily basis I encountered fire fighters and law enforcement officers who both lived in and served their community, our community. They showed me what it meant to serve others. They were committed to making our neighborhood safer and better for everyone, they were an inspiration,” said Sgt. Rubert.
However, it was the commitment of the other adults in the neighborhood, especially their commitment to the children, that created the true sense of belonging and inclusivity.
“My parents had a lot to do with me staying out of trouble and focusing on my education. My dad was like the facilitator in the community. I remember my dad always reaching out to everyone in an effort to bring community members together to support the youth. He was a bright light in our North Camden neighborhood,” said Sgt. Rubert.
“When it came time for me to choose a career, I reflected back upon my childhood. I knew that I was not going to leave the city because I had a purpose. I knew that I wanted to make a difference by having an impact on the next generation of kids. I decided that a career in law enforcement was the best way for me to do so,” said Sgt. Rubert.
And it was in 1997 that Sgt. Rubert was given exactly that opportunity, he was offered the position of detective with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. It is through this position that Sgt. Rubert would fulfill his life goal.
“Now, when I talk with kids in our community, I will often greet them with “Hola, mi nombre es,” hello my name is in Spanish, the kids just love it! They will then usually ask me whether I grew up in the city and I proudly tell them that I did, born and raised in North Camden. A lot of the kids I talk with can better relate to me because we have had some of the same life experiences, we identify with each other. It is a very humbling experience and an honor to represent my community before our next generation.”
“My heritage, my life experiences and being bilingual have opened many doors of opportunity for me. One very important thing is that I am able to translate for members of our community when they are involved with law enforcement, they truly appreciate this,” said Sgt. Rubert.
In 2022, Sgt. Rubert was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assigned to lead the newly formed Community Outreach and Engagement Unit (COE).
As to this new role, Sgt. Rubert said, “I feel that I am carrying on the legacy of my parents and my own childhood role models. I am able to reach out to the community to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. I am now able to offer guidance, assistance and services to the community in which I grew up. It has all come full circle, I am living my dream!”
When asked to comment on having served our Camden County community for almost 25 years, Sgt. Rubert had this to say, “It is an honor to serve as a member of the CCPO team where every day I am afforded the opportunity and I am encouraged to share my personal life experiences, values and traditions related to my Hispanic heritage. I am blessed because I have had the opportunity to positively impact my community. I knew I had a purpose and that purpose has now been fulfilled.”
Sgt. Rubert offered these words of encouragement to everyone in our community, “When opportunities are afforded to you, take them. When one door closes, another door opens. Have the courage to take the next step, because it may change your life. It definitely changed mine!”