Jim Mathias, '88

Climbing the ranks of the Findlay Police Department to become a Lieutenant

As soon as I walked through the door, I knew it was a good fit." ~ Jim Mathias

When Jim Mathias graduated from New Riegel High School in 1986, he planned to pursue a career in law enforcement. At first, he looked into the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office and those did not seem like a good fit for what he wanted to do. Mathias then turned to the Police Department. He visited with the Upper Sandusky Police Department and found it would be a better fit for him.

Mathias knew about Terra State Community College, then known as Terra Tech, through its visit to the high school and information received in the mail. “My sister went to Tiffin University. That was not something I wanted to do. I wanted more of a technical school,” he recalls. “So, I went to visit Terra State with my parents and liked what I saw. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew it was a good fit.”

Mathias’ experience at Terra State was one he looks back on fondly. “The instructors were great with us and made you feel comfortable,” he remembers. “The Admissions Office was great in assisting you to get everything lined up to get you started. All of the classes were very informative and hands-on. The professors were actually veterans of the force and knew the subject matter. It was a great experience.”

  • Program icon
  • Calendar icon
    Average Length of Study

    2 years, Full time

  • Cost icon
    Average Cost


  • employer icon

    Findlay Police Department

  • Job Title


  • Salary Potential

    Up to $91,131*



Upon graduating from Terra State, Mathias began his law enforcement career with the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve and full time with the Upper Sandusky Police Department. He spent five years in Upper Sandusky and began to look for a position in a larger community. Mathias saw an opportunity in Findlay and began there in 1995. He started as a Patrolman and was promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 2001. From there, he moved over to the Hancock METRICH Enforcement Vice/Narcotics Division as Detective Sergeant, then back to Patrol Sergeant. He is now in his current position of Lieutenant after being promoted this year.

When looking at the future of law enforcement and those who want to get into the field, Mathias says certifications and degrees are now a necessity. “It’s getting tougher every day. The Findlay Police Department does not require a two-year degree. We are still sending potential officers to Basic Police Academy. However, most departments, especially the larger ones, require you to have a degree or certification. Plus, this shows the departments that you are committed to the field, so when they provide you with additional training, they know they are going to get a return on their investment.”

*Possible salary information based on averages from salary.com