Former OSUPD Officer Uncovers Historic Documents

Finding entertaining activities every day during COVID-19 was becoming increasingly difficult for Jim Sheehan. The former OSUPD Officer had been isolating in his Los Angeles home for months with his wife, Kathleen.

Sheehan and his wife own a consulting business, but they had to temporarily halt work in March due to the Coronavirus limiting travel to meet with clients. 

Around the house, the law enforcement veteran had a long list of projects that he never completed. He felt the best use of his time was going through old documents and files in an effort to reduce clutter. He had no idea his work around the house would uncover fond memories from his time at The Ohio State University.

In a file cabinet in his garage, Sheehan found a policy and procedure manual, a notebook containing general information, and two additional personal notebooks from his days at the police academy. He was required to keep them and took copious notes during his classes. His hundreds of pages of copy include everything from making arrests, how to properly search someone and interrogations to first aid and case law.

professional studio headshot of Jim Sheehan“That was the start of a very long law enforcement career,” Sheehan said. “I received good training there. We had great work and cases along with talented people and administrators.”

Sheehan was an officer with OSUPD from 1973 to 1978. He says he always knew he had the documents, but never had time to locate them. But, once he cast his eyes on the decades-old pages, he couldn’t stop gazing.

“The problem with finding them was putting them down because I just kept wanting to read stuff that was in them,” Sheehan said.

The recollections made him think of some of his fondest cases and accomplishments while on the job. Sheehan started a white-collar crimes unit at OSUPD. 

The myriad of memories caused Sheehan to think about helping his fellow law enforcers at Ohio State.

“I thought, how might these documents be useful?” Sheehan said. “I didn’t want them to go to waste and I thought somebody would find value and use them for research and training.”

He contacted Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt, who welcomed the idea. Once she received Sheehan’s documents, she put them on display for members of her division to see.

Reading through Sheehan’s materials was a proud moment for Lieutenant Marjorie Rizalvo.  

“It’s great to see the same standards and expectations decades ago,” Lieutenant Rizalvo said. “To see where we came from and what officers went through was very insightful.”

Sheehan eventually left OSUPD to work with the Franklin County Prosecutors Office for three years. He concluded his law enforcement career with the FBI, working with them for 27 years. 

Sheehan’s historic documents will eventually be donated to University Archives on behalf of the The Ohio State University Police Division.