Braeden Sparks ’17 Returns to Campus as Otterbein PD Officer

Posted Dec 20, 2019

His friends called him “the Otterface” because he was involved in so much on campus. Now, Braeden Sparks ‘17 has returned to campus as an officer with the Otterbein Police Department.

“I got involved in so many things while I was a student. They were not only great experiences but also great resume builders that really helped me find my passions and lead me to where I am today, and where I want to go in the future,” he said.

Sparks, a computer science major and criminology and sociology minor, wanted to pursue a career in either law enforcement or higher education, thanks to his internship with the Portsmouth, Ohio, Police Department and his on-campus jobs with Student Affairs and Residence Life. He first applied to the Ohio State Patrol (OSP) Academy after graduating in 2017 and was accepted later that year. Sparks spent two years with OSP but he still felt a desire to be part of higher education. When he noticed an opening with the Otterbein Police Department (OPD), he knew it was a perfect situation for him.

“OPD’s motto is ‘Service First.’ I wanted to be that resource to students on campus and also the community,” Sparks said. “Being an officer at Otterbein gives me the opportunity to put both my skill sets to work. Sometimes I know something someone else doesn’t from being a highway patrolman, or from being an resident assistant for two years as a student, or vice versa. It’s all in the name of service.”

Sparks credits Otterbein with helping him see a larger worldview outside of campus, even as a student. He values his education because it allowed him to work with others from all walks of life. All of that culminated in him being that better resource to the community he envisioned for himself.

“Otterbein gave me the next steps in my professionalism,” he said. “I just want to now set that example to students that they too can embrace college life to the fullest and work hard towards your passions.”