The Department of Public Safety held its fourth-annual awards banquet to honor the Ohio State employees who protect students and faculty.
After seven months of planning, the event was held March 17 at the Blackwell, which accommodated 140 attendees.
Numerous awards were given out, including Police Officer of the Year, which went to Adam Tabor. Security Officer of the Year was awarded to John Wasko, who works daily assignments at the Wexner Center.
Smaller special recognitions were given to the OSU Medical Center’s Mike Gregory for his help during the H1N1 scare and the Undergraduate Student Government for its promotion of a safe environment around campus, said Todd Hunter, manager of Human Resources in the Department of Public Safety and chair of the Recognition Committee.
Richard Morman, deputy chief of the University Police, won the award for Department of Public Safety Employee of the Year.
Morman, who started as a patrol officer at OSU in 1986 and became Deputy Chief in 2004, said he did not know he was going to win the award.
After eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant earlier the same day, Morman cracked open his fortune cookie and read, “Among the lucky, you are the chosen one.” He stashed the piece of paper in his pocket, not knowing he would use it later.
“Since I didn’t know I would be receiving this award, I didn’t really have a speech prepared,” Morman said. “Then I realized the fortune was in my pocket so I pulled it out and used it. Everyone laughed and people were coming up to me afterward. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t made the story up.”
Hunter said Morman plays a large role in protecting the safety and security of everyone who lives and works at the university.
One nomination summed this up best, saying that Morman is often “the linchpin that holds together the many sections of the Police Division,” Hunter said.
Despite all of the high praise, Morman said he tries to remain humble and is just there to put in his time every day.
Morman oversees all uniformed officers on campus and is also in charge of crime prevention, threat management, an investigative unit and two crisis assessment teams.
“I’ve enjoyed working here for so long because the university has a unique law enforcement,” Morman said. “Campus is only six-and-a-half square miles, but I believe that it is busier than some cities.”
The keynote speaker was Cathy Collins-Taylor, who has been the director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety for less than a year.
“Our previous speakers include President [E. Gordon] Gee and the band director, Jon Woods,” Hunter said. “This year we brought Cathy in to help her get to know the people she will be working with through OSU’s Department of Public Safety.”
OSU’s own jazz band, named for the lead saxophonist Joe Graziosi, provided live music. Because the banquet took place on St. Patrick’s Day, members from the Millennium Academy of Irish Dance provided the guests with entertainment, Hunter said.
Morman helps facilitate the vision of the Department of Public Safety by upholding values and earning distinction for OSU’s law enforcement.
“Because we’re the largest university in the country, we have to be innovators,” Morman said. “I think everything our department does brings credit to the university, and I really believe we’re a step ahead of other universities.”