Central Ohio Technical College is mourning the loss of a Danville Police officer who graduated from the college’s Basic Police Academy. Officer Thomas Cottrell Jr. was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday night.
“We all accept that being killed in the line of duty is a reality and is a part of protecting our communities and the public. It is indeed a part of the job,” says COTC Institute for Public Services and Safety Director Kevin Reardon. “The kick in the gut is always more difficult when it hits close to home as it has with Officer Cottrell. We honor his service and pray that his dedicated service will long be remembered.”
“As a college that trains future police officers and public safety workers, anytime an officer is killed in the line of duty, we mourn,” says Central Ohio Technical College President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. “However, when the officer is one of our own graduates, it is particularly painful. Our hearts go out to his fellow officers and loved ones.”
Cottrell graduated from COTC in autumn of 2002. Central Ohio Technical College’s Institute for Public Services and Safety offers basic police officer training. The program is designed to prepare students to meet the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Council, and successful graduates are recommended to take the state certification examination.
According to the Newark Advocate, Cottrell attended Newark High School and served on several different police departments in the region before getting a job in the small Knox County town of Danville in 2014.
“There is no Mayberry anymore. Evil resides everywhere,” says COTC Basic Police Academy Commander Jeff Sowards. “I was a police officer for 33 years in Columbus, and I have stopped trying to find words or make sense of these tragedies.”
Cottrell’s body was discovered behind the Danville municipal building, and a suspect is now in custody. However, even with a suspect behind bars, the repercussions from what happened to Cottrell will last a long time in the community of Danville and in the law enforcement community.
“There is nothing I can say that will do this man justice or bring him back,” says Sowards. “I’m speechless.”