Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service

Thomas Cottrell headshot.

The Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service was established by Cottrell’s mother, Melissa Osborn, and is given out at each Peace Officer Basic Training graduation ceremony during the academic year. The $1,000 award assists the recipient with equipment purchases and other expenses associated with beginning a career in law enforcement. 

The award is presented by the Cottrell family in memory of Officer Thomas W. Cottrell, Jr., who was senselessly killed in the line of duty while working in the Knox County town of Danville in January 2016. Cottrell was born in Newark and graduated from COTC’s basic police academy in 2002. He served in law enforcement for more than 14 years. It is the highest honor a COTC Peace Officer Basic Training cadet can receive. The college has received up to $30,000 as a matching gift for monies contributed to support this fund.

COTC and Osborn now aim to endow the Cottrell Award. Endowing the fund will allow for three $1,000 awards annually from the endowment’s interest, leaving the fund’s principal untouched so the award can exist in perpetuity. To reach endowment, $60,000 must be raised. Through the generosity of The Ariel Foundation, an avid program supporter of programs that impact the lives of first responders, all donations to the Cottrell Award will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000.