COTC Honors Peace Officer Basic Training Graduates

​Cottrell Award Recipients Announced at Ceremony

NEWARK, Ohio, June 1, 2019 Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) held a graduation ceremony on May 30 at the Newark campus to honor graduates of the peace officer basic training (POBT) program and name the Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service recipients.

The following students graduated from
BAS Class #18-065 under Commander Jeff Sowards.* POBT Grad Cottrell Winner BAS Class 18-065 - Joshua Walker.jpg

Larry Bandong

Benjamin Fike

Devin Holm

Martin Kaffenbarger

Matthew Lepak

Michael Moder

Cade Risch

Heath Steele

Joshua Walker

The following students graduated from 

BAS Class #19-008 under Commander Jeff Sowards.*POBT Grad Cottrell Winner BAS Class 19-008 - Austin Carpenter.jpg

Austin Carpenter

Erin Lauer

Dakota Spires

Gabriel Staats

Joshua Zeller

"Our graduates routinely score higher than the state average on the state exam, but these two classes achieved a combined 90.7 average which is the highest yet at COTC," said Sowards. "The faculty and administration are proud of the graduates' hard work and dedication."

Joshua Walker from BAS Class #18-065 and Austin Carpenter from BAS Class #19-008 were the recipients of the Officer Cottrell Award.

"It means a lot to me to receive the Cottrell Award because it was given to me based on the votes from my peers," said Walker. "I took time to help my fellow trainees when they were struggling in class or in field work, and getting this award shows that it made an impact."

Carpenter said, "I'm so thankful for the Cottrell Award. I'm from Knox County, where Officer Cottrell was from as well, so I know the impact he made. It is an honor to receive the award that is in his memory."

Cottrell was a 2002 graduate of COTC's basic police academy. He was killed in the line of duty in January 2016. The Officer Cottrell Award is presented by the Cottrell family at each 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. 

POBT prepares students to exceed 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 2018 report by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Graduates also earn 27 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Technology.

Information sessions for the upcoming POBT academy will be held on June 11 at 5:30 p.m., June 18 at 1 p.m. and June 19 at 5:30 p.m. on the COTC's Newark campus. For more information and to register, visit

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

Photo caption (top): L-R: Melissa Osborn, mother of Officer Thomas Cottrell; Brooklyn, Alycia and Courtney Cottrell, daughters of Officer Cottrell; Joshua Walker, Officer Cottrell Award Recipient; and COTC President John M. Berry, PhD

bottom: L-R: Brooklyn, Alycia and Courtney Cottrell, daughters of Officer Thomas Cottrell; Austin Carpenter, Officer Cottrell Award Recipient; COTC President John M. Berry, PhD

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.