University Police added six new officers to its force at a pinning ceremony Friday, four being additional hires enabled by revenue from alcohol sales at football games.
The pinning — which took place at Blankenship Hall — was the largest class of new officers the University Police has had in over 20 years, said Ohio State spokesman Jon Griffith. The six officers include three Ohio State alumni: brothers Seth and Cole Cooper, who graduated in 2010 and 2008, respectively, and Dustin Collier, who graduated in 2013. Aaron Petterson, Brandon Cruz and Joseph Donofrio were also pinned Friday.
University Police Chief Craig Stone told the pinning audience that even further expansion of the force is on the way, with one officer set to graduate from training in January who will join the force, as well as an additional three future hires recently approved by the university.
“It’s a good day that we are expanding our family here at The Ohio State University Police Department,” Stone said.
The decision to sell alcoholic beverages at games beginning in the 2016 football season has made a significant mark on the police division: two officers were added with funds from alcohol sales in February. While two of the officers added Friday were hired to replace two who had left the force, the other four are new additions, upping the total number of officers on Ohio State’s main campus to 52, Griffith said.
Stone praised the new officers as the best men for the job.
“The six gentlemen that we selected, they were the best,” he said. “Four of them were selected out of a pool of 300 applicants. Two of them were selected out of a pool of 200 applicants. And we were looking for people that would be good communicators, educators and problem solvers.”
The ceremony consisted of the new officers being pinned by a family member or significant other in front of the small crowd of family and friends gathered in the Blankenship Hall lobby.
Seth and Cole Cooper took the opportunity to pin each other.
Seth said part of his desire to become an Ohio State police officer came from his undergraduate experience working in the Department of Public Safety as well as being able to return to his alma mater.
He added that his experiences as a student will help him perform in his role as an officer.
“What is police work about? Serving the community,” Seth said. “Having been a member of this community, I’ve seen it from the other side, so I can understand what I would want out of a police officer when I was here and what I did want.”