Former Ohio State Buckeye tackles new role as CPD officer

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From protecting the field to protecting our community. Today, one former Buckeye swapped his scarlet and gray for blue.

10TV talked with former Ohio State football safety, C.J. Barnett about his dreams of working in law enforcement and how he made them a reality.

After 29 weeks of training, Barnett graduated alongside 44 other police recruits from the Columbus Police Academy Friday morning.

“It’s one thing to be in the NFL and have kids look up to you but it's another thing to actually be in the community and actually touch these kids and influence them,” Barnett said.

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The job isn’t an easy one, he told 10TV.

“It's pretty tough,” he said. “Probably one of the hardest jobs in America.”

But despite the challenge, Barnett told 10TV he felt prepared, thanks to his instruction at the Academy, studies at Ohio State, and of course, years of success playing at the Shoe.

“I think here, you know, going through the Academy, learning our fundamentals, you know, kind of fine-tuning those things will enable us to be the best officers that we can be,” he said. “And then just hard work. You know, just every day going to the grindstone. That’s my big thing that got me through football.”

But football couldn’t prepare Barnett for everything.

“The worst thing that could happen [as an athlete] was I give up a touchdown and a fan gets on Twitter and yells at me or something. You know, here, it's life or death,” he said.

Columbus Police Chief, Kim Jacobs said in her address to the new recruits, that the job is about more than being physically able.

“It's not just about push-ups. “It's strength of mind that they got you to understand. That your mind is a lot stronger than you actually think that it is,” she said.

For younger Buckeyes with big dreams, Barnett has one piece of advice.

“The biggest thing is you know, to believe in it. You have to be your biggest believer,” Barnett said. “You have to have all the confidence in the world in yourself because it's not easy. It's very tough. It's a day-in, day-out routine, but it's just, belief is the biggest thing.”

The 129th recruit class that graduated Friday morning was made up of new officers ready to serve the City of Columbus, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, New Albany, Ohio State University and Westerville.