COTC Instructor Named Correctional Training Officer of the Year

NEWARK, Ohio, April 11, 2018 Lieutenant Wesley Wagner received national recognition as the 2018 Correctional Training Officer of the Year awarded by the American Jail Association (AJA). Wagner is a part-time faculty member at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and commander for the Peace Officer Basic Training (POBT) program.

"I was floored and humbled at the same time. This came as a very big surprise, and for an educator in the corrections field this is the biggest compliment that you can receive," said Wagner.

4-12-18 Wagner Officer of the Year.jpgWagner, a COTC alumnus, began his education in the POBT program and then completed an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Technology. He continued at Franklin University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management, and at the University of Cincinnati where he received a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Corrections.

"I like to teach at COTC for a few reasons. One, I like to give back to the place that gave me my start. Two, I still work in the local field of law enforcement, and I end up working with a lot of the students that I have had in class. I think it is great to see them come full circle," said Wagner.

He is able to use both real world experience and his education to provide the best experience for his students. Wagner's full-time position is with the Licking County Sheriff's Office in the Corrections Division. Sheriff Randy Thorp, Colonel Chad Dennis and Captain Chris Barbuto are supportive of his teaching position, he said, and believe in maintaining a strong bond between the sheriff's office and COTC.

"COTC has given me a lot of help in my career and education," he said. "The base that I received at COTC gave me the confidence to continue on, and the professional contacts and friendships I have built over the years are priceless. "

COTC offers an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology and an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Technology as well as the Peace Officer Basic Training program, which is offered in both an accelerated, full-time format and evening, part-time format. Learn more at

AJA is a national, nonprofit organization that supports the professionals who operate our nation's jails.
The AJA Awards Committee identifies and presents annual awards to exceptional practitioners in recognition of the stellar leadership in the industry, and in keeping with the commitment of providing leadership to the local correction profession through education, research, and best practices. Awards are presented at AJA's Annual Conference & Jail Expo, which will be held on April 21-25, 2018, in Sacramento, California.

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. ​