OUPD officers receive gender-neutral badges

Captain Brian Kapple receives his new Ohio University Police Department badge from his father, Kenneth Kapple, during Thursday's ceremony. (Seth Archer | Staff Photographer)

It is “out with the old and in with the new” for Ohio University Police Department as the new gender-neutral police badges were officially pinned on the uniforms of officers during a  Thursday ceremony.

Speaking to attendees at Baker Ballroom B, Police Chief Andrew Powers said the badge ceremony was not only an event to introduce the new badge, but also an appreciation to officers and their loved ones.            

“Often in police work, we come together very well during crisis, but we fail to celebrate accomplishments,” Powers said. “And in terms of accomplishments, I think we have much to celebrate.”

The ceremony is the first of what will be an annual Badge Pinning and Employee Recognition Ceremony, according to a release from the university.

Powers also said the badge represented the trust and partnership the community places on the department, which makes it possible for officers to do their job.

“It’s a visible symbol of our obligation to the community and our responsibility to maintain the highest professional standards,” he said. “Our job is to be here for everyone, and the badge represents our pledge to that.”

Vice President of Finance and Administration Stephen Golding said he has a long career working with different university police departments. He also added that the services OUPD provides were essential to the university.

“I personally believe it takes a very special kind of person to be a university police officer,” Golding said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for what you do on a day-in day-out basis.”

The badges cost the department a total of $5,000, according to a previous Post article.

Keynote Speaker John Born, of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said the badge — while worn by one — represents the entire agency, university and Athens community.

“As you pin that badge on,” Born said, “I thank you for committing yourself to a safer Ohio.”

Around 170 people watched as officers stood atop the ballroom stage to receive the new police badge. The new design features a rendering of Cutler Hall in its centerpiece, and says “officer” instead of “patrolman.” The pinning of the badge was orchestrated by the officer’s loved ones.

Among the people receiving the new badge was  the department’s only female full-time officer Brittney Cottrill, whose badge was pinned by her fiancee.

Cottrill said she felt excited over the new badge she was wearing. She also said she hopes more females would join the department.

Lt. Tim Ryan, of OUPD, said he felt proud with the important symbol that has been given. Ryan was accompanied by his sister and mother during the event.

“I couldn’t be prouder of what he has chosen,” his mother, Jean Ryan, said. “I know he works very hard at keeping all the students here safe, and that makes me happy.”


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