NEWARK, Ohio, April 27, 2017 – Six Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) law enforcement and criminal justice alumni returned to share their wisdom with future and current students on April 20. Officer David Burris, K-9 Unit, Newark Division of Police; Officer Cara Butts, Granville Police Department; Deputy Taylor Dunlap, Fairfield County Sheriff's Office; Sheriff Randy Thorp, Licking County Sheriff; Mark Weiner, Director of Victim Services, Licking County Sheriff's Office; and Sergeant Jillyan Will, New Albany Police Department talked about everything from the reality of the career choice to what to expect when applying and interviewing.
In response to the question of how to succeed in the police department culture, the panel members provided both inspiring and enlightening answers.
"Step up, be a leader and help your colleagues," said Sheriff Thorp. "Also, constantly keep in mind what you're there to do."
Deputy Dunlap added, "Before choosing the career, do ride-a-longs and internships because this job is a lifestyle, not just an eight-hour job."
The panel members also clarified the reality of the career versus the pop culture image of it created by television shows and movies.
"Pop culture only shines a thin light on what we do," said Officer Burris. "You end up being a counselor, friend and community leader when you become an officer."
Sheriff Thorp added, "Being a detective isn't running around in plain clothes and whipping out your badge. A lot of time is spent doing data entry and documenting of evidence."
Students wanted to find out the secret to landing the law enforcement job of their dreams. Panel members agreed that being an effective communicator and demonstrating it during the interview process is one of the most important characteristics needed for the job. They also noted what to expect during the interviewing process.
Officer Butts said, "There is a background process. They will investigate you, so be careful of your online life. Be aware of what you're posting."
Deputy Dunlap added, "The background process can take six to eight months or even up to a year. Be patient. There will be home visits, psychological evaluations, lie detector tests and more."
The panel was coordinated by the Office of Development and the COTC Institute for Public Services and Safety in an effort to provide those interested in a career in law enforcement or criminal justice a better idea of how to pursue them and the various career opportunities available.
COTC has several programs available including Criminal Justice Technology, Law Enforcement Technology and Basic Police Academy.
COTC was ranked number one in Ohio and number 19 in the nation by PayScale in its 2016-17 College Salary Report ranking the best community and career colleges by salary potential. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.