COTC Honors Basic Police Academy Graduates

NEWARK, Ohio, Dec. 7, 2017 — Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) held a graduation ceremony on Nov. 30, 2017, at the Newark campus to honor 12 graduates of the Basic Police Academy (BPA) and name the Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service recipient.

The following students graduated from BAS Class #17-031 under Commander Jeff Sowards; students are grouped by hometown:
Columbus: Matthew Bubis
Glenford: Taylor Saunier
Lucas: Connor Prince
Mount Vernon: Joseph Titus
Newark: Kyle Chism, David Fosco, Josie Grashel, Wesley Jackson, Ariel Marion and Austin Postle
Utica: Monica Clark
Zanesville: Samantha Appleman

Wesley Jackson of Newark received the Cottrell Award. Jackson's interest in law enforcement began at age eight when he sat in his brother's cruiser. "I looked up to him for what he did," said Jackson. "I'd love to be a positive role model like that, and go out of my way and inspire people to be the best that they can be."

Jackson described receiving the Cottrell award as an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and success. He plans to seek guidance from his instructors on how best to use the award money to get started in his career as a police officer. But first, he will continue his education at COTC and complete an associate degree in law enforcement technology.

"All of the instructor's that I have had are 100 percent into their job. They all genuinely want to see all of us succeed. That was a great experience to be a part of and learn from," said Jackson. "I cannot thank the college enough for finding some of the best instructors, and more importantly I cannot thank the Cottrell family enough for putting together such a meaningful award. At the end of the day, the Cottrell family has made the ultimate sacrifice, and with this award they keep Thomas's legacy alive."

Cottrell was a 2002 graduate of COTC's BPA. He was killed in the line of duty while working in the small Knox County town of Danville in January 2016. The Cottrell Award is presented by the Cottrell family at each BPA graduation ceremony. It is the highest honor a cadet can receive. The selection of the recipients is based on many factors including, but not limited to, academic success and overall leadership and character. The $1,000 award assists the recipient with equipment purchases and other expenses associated with beginning a career in law enforcement. 

The BPA prepares students to meet the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. Graduates are recommended to take the state certification examination to become a peace officer in Ohio. Graduates' scores on the state certification exam ranked second in the state among open enrollment academies and fifth overall according to a 2016 report by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Graduates also earn 22.5 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Technology. For more information, visit

Pictured above (l-r): Courtney Cottrell, Melissa Osborn (mother of Officer Thomas Cottrell), Wesley Jackson and Brooklyn Cottrell