NEWARK, Ohio, February 21, 2017 – A portrait of Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) Alumnus and Danville Police Officer Thomas W. Cottrell, who was tragically killed in the line of duty just over a year ago, now hangs on the wall at the COTC Pataskala campus. The portrait was sent to the Cottrell Family by artist Kaziah Hancock who specializes in paintings of officers who were killed in the line of duty. The family asked COTC to display the painting since Officer Cottrell was a 2002 graduate of COTC's Basic Police Academy (BPA).
Photo Above (l-r): COTC Institute for Public Services and Safety Director Kevin Reardon, Danville Police Chief Daniel Weckesser, Pataskala Police Chief Bruce Brooks and COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D.
A ceremony was held yesterday (Monday) at the Pataskala campus to unveil the portrait. Many members of Cottrell's family and local law enforcement officers attended the event.
"It is important for COTC to display this on the Pataskala campus because this is the home of the Basic Police Academy. There is a dedicated law enforcement classroom and cadets, faculty and instructors are constantly in and out of this building, and specifically, in this area of the building," said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. "We selected this site because of the proximity to the dedicated law enforcement classroom, but also because this is the spot where we have installed the plaque honoring the recipients of the Officer Thomas W. Cottrell, Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service that was created by Officer Cottrell's mother and sister to honor him. It is the highest honor a graduating cadet can receive."
In December, COTC gave out the first Cottrell awards to two BPA students at their graduation ceremony. The Cottrell Award will be given out at each BPA graduation ceremony during the academic year. The selection of the recipients is based on many factors including, but not limited to, academic success and overall leadership and character. The award will be a minimum of $1,000 and is to be used to help the graduating cadet with equipment purchases and other expenses associated with beginning a career in law enforcement.
"This portrait of Officer Cottrell will fit so well in this location," said Coe. "At COTC we realize how dangerous a law enforcement career can be. It is our hope that displaying this beautiful portrait can serve as a reminder to our students and faculty about the seriousness of their education, teaching and training while also serving as a fitting tribute to Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr., his service and his love for COTC."
On Monday, Jan. 23, COTC dedicated a permanent memorial on the Newark campus to honor alumni and current students of the Institute for Public Services and Safety who are killed in the line of duty. Cottrell was the first name permanently added to that memorial.
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.