Reynoldsburg police Sgt. Cindy McComb was among 35 Ohio officers who recently completed a 10-week course in police staff and command training offered by the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety.
Its purpose is to teach command-level officers about various aspects of running a police department, including budgeting and leadership issues, resource allocation and dealing with problem employees.
Students who complete the course may be awarded eight units of undergraduate credit from Northwestern University.
McComb, 46, has been with the Reynoldsburg Division of Police for the past 21 years. She said the program was a big learning experience.
"The biggest thing I got out of it — because at my level, we don't do a lot with budgets — the week we worked on budgeting really opened my eyes as to what a chief would go through to get a budget approved," McComb said.
"I learned quite a bit during the entire course. We learned how to allocate resources, we learned how to determine calls for service like emergency and non-emergency calls, and learned good public relation tools," she said.
McComb said being among peers and making friends with many could be beneficial in the future for participants, if they need to share information with each other.
McComb's classmates voted to give her the Franklin M. Kreml Leadership Award, established to "recognize and encourage high ethical and professional values and dedication to public service."
A native of New Philadelphia, McComb has lived in central Ohio for 25 years with her husband Michael, and two stepchildren.
After graduating from New Philadelphia High School in 1982, McComb enlisted in the Army, serving for three years as a Specialist 4. In 1985 she worked briefly in the Bureau of Justice at the Milan Federal Prison in Milan, Mich., before moving to Columbus where she landed a job with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In April 1989, after attending the State Highway Patrol Academy in the fall of 1988, McComb was hired as a patrol officer in Reynoldsburg. She said she applied for the job because at the time, Reynoldsburg was a small rural community and she was interested in working in that type of atmosphere.
"It has significantly changed a lot in 20 years," she said. "The demographics have changed and it's more like a big city now.
"When I first started here, East Livingston Avenue was a two-lane street, state Route 256 was also basically a two-lane street, there was absolutely no housing east of Waggoner Road. It was all farmland."
She started out as a second-shift patrol officer for a couple of years before becoming a DARE officer for two years. During that time, she also was involved in crime prevention unit.
McComb then transferred back as a patrol officer on the midnight shift before being accepted into the detective bureau in 1995. In 2001, she was promoted to patrol sergeant as a shift supervisor, a post she held for the next four years.
In 2005, McComb accepted a position in support services, supervising the records department and DARE program as well as serving as a court liaison.
She said becoming a police officer is something she always wanted to do.
"I think it was in my blood," she said. "I don't think there was any one reason that I do it, but obviously, I like to help people out, I like the people I work with. It just something I've always liked — protecting, serving, probably making a positive impact on someone else's life."
McComb is currently attending Central Ohio Technical College in pursuit of a business degree. She said she has only five classes left before she graduates.
She said she wants a business degree to have as a backup plan when or if she decides to retire from the police department.
Almost 10,000 students have graduated from the police staff and command training since the course was established in 1983. The Reynoldsburg Division of Police paid $1,450 of McComb's $3,400 tuition cost; the rest was covered by federally subsidized grants provided to the State Highway Patrol Academy.