COTC Honors Peace Officer Basic Training Graduates

NEWARK, Ohio, June 22, 2018Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) held a graduation ceremony on May 30, 2018, at the Newark campus to honor 21 graduates of the Peace Officer Basic Training (POBT) and name the recipients of the Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service.

The following students* graduated from BAS Class #17-050 under Commander Jeff Sowards. Students are grouped by hometown.
Etna: John D. Fridinger

Hebron: Delane B. King

Newark: Derek K. Amspaugh
Johnstown: Collin L. Remy​

The following students* graduated from BAS Class #18-007 under Commander Jeff Sowards. Students are grouped by hometown.

Columbus: Cody J. Frazier, Patrick J. Kelly and Bradley S. Pochatek

Heath: John M. Nethers

Mount Vernon: Jeremy D. Talbott and Paige L. Wilt

Newark: Richard J. Buehler

Pataskala: Andrew W. Bynorth, Joshua A. Derenburger and Michael D. Pereira

Thornville: Jeremy Justice, II

Utica: James W. Lucas

Worthington: Stefan W. Bruch ​

*Only students who have granted COTC permission to release their names to the public are listed.

From BAS Class #17-050, John Fridinger of Etna received the Officer Cottrell Award. Fridinger said he wanted to be a police officer because he wants to help the people who cannot help themselves. "When someone dials 9-1-1, it's because they need help right now, and I want to be the person who shows up to help," he stated.

Fridinger said he was very honored to receive the Officer Cottrell Award, and that it meant the world to him to be presented with it. He is presently going through the hiring process and is looking forward to getting started in his career as a police officer.

The Officer Cottrell Award recipient from BAS Class #18-007 was Jeremy Justice II of Thornville. Justice is in the United States Marine Corps so he wanted to continue a similar career. "The core values of honor, courage and commitment are important to me. My passion for helping people led me to pursue a career in law enforcement," he said.

His father is a Marine veteran and served 16 years as a police officer. His mother is a 17-year registered nurse who has specialized in trauma. "Their selfless and dedicated service inspired me to be the best I can be. I'm blessed to have my faith, family and friends' support as well as their encouragement throughout the academy. Our academy staff and instructors along with my fellow classmates have helped shape me into the man and law enforcement officer I want to be," he continued.

Justice will continue his education by pursuing degrees in law enforcement technology and criminal justice. He is presently going through the hiring process.

Officer Cottrell was a 2002 graduate of COTC's Peace Officer Basic Training. He was killed in the line of duty while working in the small Knox County town of Danville in January 2016. The Officer Cottrell Award is presented by the Cottrell family at each POBT 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 POBT 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 25 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), John Fridinger, Jeremy Justice II, Alycia Cottrell and Brooklyn Cottrell

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.