COLUMBUS GROVE — At some point in life, everyone is tested. Everyone faces trauma. The events themselves do not shape our lives. How we respond to them does.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Officer Jesse Meyer faced his first test at a particularly formative time in life. At the age of 12, disaster struck his community, and darkness touched his family. His sister’s admirable desire to assist her community in a time of need was taken advantage of in the very worst of ways, and Jesse Meyer’s young innocence towards the world was shattered.
With a matter of fact tone underscoring the gravity of the incident, Officer Meyer describes what first compelled him to put on a uniform and help his community:
“We had a bad flood in 2007, and my sister was helping a friend of the family at the time clean his house,” Meyer said. “She ended up [sexually assaulted] and pregnant with twins. I knew then that I wanted to do something to help people, especially with crimes of that magnitude.”  
Some events in our lives remain present, no matter how much time and distance is placed in-between. The effect of this traumatic event on Officer Meyer remains clear, “I got to see my sister. See how alone she felt through a lot of it. Luckily, Officer Tammy Griffith of Ottawa was able to work really closely with her. This inspired me, I knew I would like to do that too.”
An example was set. Officer Griffith, who remains close with the entire Meyer family to this day, remained involved long after the assault occurred. With the help of her family, and the efforts of Officer Griffith in particular, Meyer’s sister was able to overcome this incident. It does not define her. She is now an officer herself with the county corrections department, with two wonderful soon-to-be nine-year old girls.
When we think of police officers, the majority of us are lucky. More likely than not, we remember being pulled over for a speeding ticket, or similar minor infraction. It can be harder for the general public to realize that tragedy occurs nearly every day, and the first person to arrive is often a cop.
Even Meyer was not entirely immune to this type of thinking.
“Having grown up in the area, I always knew it as safe little Ottawa, safe little Putnam County, where nothing really happens,” he said. “My biggest surprise would be the magnitude of some of the crimes that we have, and the sheer number of drug offenses we have come in. It was just not something that I thought happened.”
Even still, this is a man who obviously approaches the world with a great deal of optimism.
Officer training is mostly universal in Ohio. Meyer attended an official OPOT approved course at Rhodes State College. It involved 485 hours of study over the course of nine months. During this time, officers-in-training learn the laws of the state of Ohio, and receive a base understanding on policy and procedure - how to act, how not to act. Once an officer joins a police department, the training continues. It never ends. An officer can never really be over prepared. Previously, Officer Meyer had been with the Sheriff’s department for two years. He then served the city of Ottawa part-time for nine months. His first day on the job as a full-time officer was this past Thursday, April 6.
Though as we all now realize, he really began nine years ago.
Columbus Grove is lucky. Officer Meyer knows much better than most what it means to have an officer who truly cares respond to the most unfortunate of calls. He knows that a true police officer always does much more than dole out tickets for minor infractions, and bust bad guys. They take a stand for the idea that a better world is always possible. They put that idea into action in a myriad of ways, some seen by the community in which they serve, many only experienced by the individuals they help.