Recognizing excellence: 2023 Officers of the Year named by Wayne County Sheriff

Law enforcement officers play a vital role in ensuring safe communities. They are on the front lines, facing daily challenges to protect and serve in the community and within the jail.

Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson recently recognized the dedication and commitment of deputy Jodi Kauffman and Corrections Division Sgt. James Rogers, naming them the 2023 Officers of the Year.

“Presenting these awards is my favorite time of the year,” Hutchinson said. “Especially this year, we have seen numerous milestones achieved by our office, and these officers played a significant role in those achievements. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. It is an honor to work with them.”

Hutchinson said Rogers was instrumental in getting corrections officers their own designation within the Sheriff’s Office.

“When we started, there was no such thing as a corrections officer; everyone was considered a deputy,” Hutchinson said. “We campaigned very hard to have a corrections department. James was a big part of that, and he is also the first deputy in our office to become certified in corrections and become ranked.”

Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, left, named deputy Jodi Kauffman and Corrections Division Sgt. James Rogers the 2023 Officers of the Year.
Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, left, named deputy Jodi Kauffman and Corrections Division Sgt. James Rogers the 2023 Officers of the Year.

Rogers began his career with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in January 2019 and completed Corrections Officer Basic Training and Use of Force in Jails training later that year. He achieved the rank of sergeant in 2023.

In addition to his accomplishments as a corrections officer, Rogers completed a field training program that allows him to carry a firearm during inmate transport. He is a member of the Cell Extraction Response Team and is active on the office’s social media outlets.

“This award lets me know that everyone supports me, and as a new officer in corrections, that is important,” Rogers said. “An award like this really sets a higher standard for everyone, and I will have to raise the bar for next year.”

Kauffman making positive impact on Triway District

Kauffman has served as the Triway Local Schools resource officer (SRO) since 2019, has introduced numerous programs within the district and was awarded the Stand Out Staff Award in 2023 from the Ohio School Safety Summit held in Columbus.

She also received a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives and was nominated for the Legacy of Honor Award for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Most recently, she participated in the National Red Ribbon Week photo contest to bring awareness to the importance of a drug-free lifestyle. Kauffman organized and entered a photo that featured local first responders, various emergency vehicles and school staff amid a pyrotechnic display that served as a backdrop.

The picture won first place out of more than 400 entrants, and Triway School District received $1,000 and an iPad to help support a drug-free campus.

“She continues to make a positive impact at Triway,” Hutchinson said. “She is a tremendous asset to the Sheriff’s Office, and her ability as an SRO has earned her the respect of the students and staff at Triway as she creates a safe learning environment.”

Kauffman has been a deputy since 2013 and received training in crisis conflict management, crimes against children, use of force, trauma-informed policing, security awareness, threat assessment, SRO bus driver safety, hazing, and social media.

“This is amazing; it is an honor to be recognized for this award, and I am shocked,” Kauffman said. “There are always obstacles to overcome, but it is worthwhile when you have a positive outcome. Receiving this award motivates me to make my goals for 2024 even bigger.”

Dan Starcher is the Public Communications coordinator for Wayne County.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Sheriff Travis Hutchinson names Kauffan, Rogers Wayne Officers of Year