NEWARK, Ohio, April 3, 2017 – Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) is mourning the passing of one of its own. Retired Knox County Sheriff David Barber passed away over the weekend. He graduated from COTC in 1982 with a degree in criminal justice technology. Barber was one of the founding members of the COTC Alumni Council, a former member of the criminal justice advisory board, a former instructor on both the Newark and Knox campuses and was the keynote speaker at COTC's winter commencement in 2011.
"David Barber was a proud graduate of COTC and never hesitated to serve his alma mater," said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. "He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family."
Barber served as Knox County sheriff for 20 years, retiring in 2013. COTC interviewed Barber in 2016 for a video celebrating COTC's 45 anniversary. During that interview Barber said that the associate degree he received from COTC put him on the path to becoming sheriff.
"I've always had a special place in my heart and in my life for Central Ohio Technical College because it gave me the opportunity and the tools and the things that I needed," said Barber. "All the experiences both in the classroom, on the gun range, on the self-defense mats, and all the networking I was able to do with other students who have furthered their law enforcement careers made a huge difference. I guess to sum it up I would not be where I am today if it had not been for my COTC experience."
Barber's career started in June 1973 when he was a police officer for the Mount Vernon Developmental Center. He later became chief of police in Centerburg before moving into a uniform patrol deputy position at the Knox County Sheriff's Department. He was elected as sheriff in 1993. Barber said he decided to go to COTC so he would have the opportunity to advance his career.
"I was acquainted with a couple law enforcement officers who were attending COTC," said Barber. "I checked it out and found out that going to Central Ohio Technical College through the criminal justice program was going to excel my chances of furthering my law enforcement career."
Barber was the first person elected to the position of sheriff in Knox County with a college degree. He knew it was important to give back to his alma mater and said he benefitted greatly from those experiences.
"I was honored to be an instructor for a few years in the Basic Police Academy at Newark. I served on the COTC Alumni Council, and back many years ago I was on the criminal justice advisory board for the college," said Barber. "I am just so impressed with what President Coe and the college have done, not just for Newark and Mount Vernon, but for central Ohio."
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.