One year ago, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) lost a graduate, and the region lost a hero. Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell Jr. was shot and killed in the line of duty on Jan. 17, 2016. On Monday, Jan. 23, COTC dedicated a permanent memorial on the Newark campus to honor alumni and current students of the Institute for Public Services and Safety who are killed in the line of duty. Cottrell will be the first name permanently added to that memorial.
"Law enforcement and public safety officials put their lives on the line each day," said Institute for Public Services and Safety Director Kevin Reardon. "This memorial on campus will serve as a permanent reminder of the dedication, commitment, and service beyond the call of duty that embodies those who we honor on the memorial."
"This is a dangerous time in the law enforcement profession," said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. "Our students are pursuing a career with great risk and great reward. I could not be more proud of our graduates and of this memorial on our campus. It's important to remember those from our campus community who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
The memorial dedication was held Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. in Adena Hall on the Newark Campus, 1159 University Drive. There was a brief outside ceremony followed by refreshments in the Adena lobby.
Cottrell served on several different police departments in the region before getting a job in the small Knox County town of Danville in 2014. He graduated from COTC's Basic Police Academy (BPA) in autumn of 2002. The BPA program is designed to prepare students to meet the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission, and successful graduates are recommended to take the state certification examination.
In December, COTC gave out the first Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Awards for Character and Dedication to Public Service to two BPA students at their graduation ceremony. The Cottrell Award will be given out at each BPA graduation ceremony during the academic year. The selection of the recipients is based on many factors including, but not limited to, academic success and overall leadership and character. The award will be a minimum of $1,000 and is to be used to help the graduating cadet with equipment purchases and other expenses associated with beginning a career in law enforcement. Officer Cottrell's mother, Melissa Osborn, established the award to honor her son and as a way to recognize students who are carrying on his legacy.