Columbus, OH

University Police Division welcomes new officers

The Lantern
Ohio State welcomed Kristen Kovach and James Welch to the University Police Division on May 26. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Lantern File Photo

Though last month was just the start for two new officers in the University Police Division, Kristen Kovach and James Welch are already looking at Ohio State as the last stop in their careers in the public sector.

The pair were officially welcomed to the force on May 26 with a pinning ceremony where they received their badges. The two will serve the Columbus and Wooster campuses, respectively, and will complete at least 14 weeks of training with a field officer before receiving a solo assignment, according to a Department of Public Safety news release.

“Even though I have experience in law enforcement and I’m coming from another agency, this is like the beginning of what the rest of my career will hold,” Kovach said in the release. “There are a lot of opportunities here and a lot of people to meet so I’m just excited to start what I consider to be the beginning of the rest of my career.”

According to the release, Kovach is a Columbus native who has worked for the Ohio State Highway Patrol since 2016.

“I did a short stint at Dublin Police Department when I first graduated from the academy. I was there a little over a year,” Kovach said. “But I had always wanted to work for the highway patrol.”

Kovach said she hopes to excel at her current training portion as she rides along with a veteran officer and that the division so far feels like a great fit.

“I liked the atmosphere just when I would walk into the department, and so I’m excited about that, and I think it’s going to be a great place for me to retire from, you know, 20 years from now,” Kovach said.

Welch, a Canton, Ohio, native with previous university experience, said he is also excited to spend the rest of his career at Ohio State.

“My family has always been diehard Buckeyes no matter what the sport, [or] the campus itself,” Welch said. “So, we’ve always had a home there, and I look forward to just enjoying the campus life — meeting everyone, seeing new students move on and do great things and being there for them any chance I can.”

After leaving the academy, Welch said he worked for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve before moving to the Hartville Police Department, where he worked for seven years on patrol. This all led to him eventually taking a position at Stark State College.

“When I left there to take the job at Ohio State, I was the campus security coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinator,” Welch said. “And then during that time as well, I worked part-time at Walsh University Police Department.

Both Kovach and Welch said they are excited to be a part of the Ohio State community.

“Whether you’re a student there or a police officer, or a staff member, Ohio State is worldwide and it’s a family,” Welch said.

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