COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 16, 2017 —
‘Tis the season to help others; however, for Officer Christopher Kelty at the Defense Supply Center Columbus, helping others is a way of life.
These actions were part of the consideration that led to Officer Kelty’s selection as the 2017 DLA Police Officer of the Year.
“When I was younger, we didn’t have a lot although I did have a good upbringing. It was instilled in me early on to help other people when you can. I go out of my way to help people,” Kelty said.
Growing up, Kelty wanted to be a firefighter, but as he got older he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as a military police officer. It was then that he said he fell in love with law enforcement.
In his civilian capacity, Kelty also served as an Ohio police officer for the better part of a decade and has been a federal police officer at DSCC since 2016.
These careers align with Kelty’s compassion to help others.
“The most enjoyable part of being a police officer is the ability to brighten someone’s day. We often are called to crime scenes or accidents but when we get a call that allows us to truly help someone, it brightens the day for both parties involved,” Kelty said.
Earlier this year, Kelty responded to a call at the DSCC Child Development Center.
“It was a cold day outside and the mother was picking her kid up from the daycare center on base and locked her child in the car with the keys,” said Kelty, describing how the mother discovered the driver door locked when she walked around after buckling her child in. “It was probably the quickest I’ve ever done a lock-out for someone. She was lucky because her kid wasn’t in the car for long and her heat was on. I was happy to have been able to help and could relate to how she felt having two kids myself,” said Kelty.
On the job, Kelty’s passion to help isn’t unnoticed. His supervisors said Kelty has been spotted numerous times by fellow officers and superiors helping others and boosting morale around the department.
Police Lt. Harry Salcone said that “in addition to his basic police officer duties, Officer Kelty has taken the initiative and volunteered to be a Field Training Officer. His superb organization, safety-conscious approach to teaching new officers has greatly enhanced their development.”
Kelty recalled an occurrence where he provided a fellow officer on the spot field training using drug kits. After the lesson, the officer improved his drug citations.
Kelty said the decision to become an FTO formalized something he was already doing.
Deputy Police Chief Edward Compton said Officer Kelty is always ready to assist in improving the police department. “As a top performing police officer at DSCC, he’s always adding more to the job than expected, putting it ahead of his own interest,” he said.
“It’s an honor to have somebody from our installation receive the DLA Police Officer of the Year award,” he added. “It’s been about eight years since DSCC has had a police officer receive this award. Officer Kelty is a great officer and definitely deserves the recognition.”
Kelty said he was shocked to receive the award. “When I first found out, I didn’t realize I was being considered for the entire agency. It was a great feeling. There’re so many great officers I work with here and throughout DLA that I didn’t expect to receive it especially since I just do my job.”
Salcone said that Kelty demonstrates superior ability and performance in all facets of his police specialty. He is a model police officer and always adds more to the job than expected.
Kelty credits his success to his education and compassion for others.
The best advice he received came early on in his career at the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy.
“One of the instructors said ‘You’ll exceed in this career if you’re firm, you’re fair and you’re nice.’ This was a powerful quote because it stuck with me and I’ve abided by that my entire career. It’s the best advice I can give to others as well. Being nice goes a long way in any situation,” Kelty said.
Kelty’s support for the community and helping others extends beyond our fence line and his role as a police officer.
“One of my favorite outreach events we do here is the Cops and Kids event in Columbus,” Kelty said.
DSCC police officers take their mobile command vehicle and join other departments from around the city. The event is designed to provide children the opportunity to interact with the law enforcement in the community while learning about the vehicles, equipment and technology that law enforcement personnel use.
Since joining the Marines 10 years ago, Kelty has also given back to an organization that made an impact on him as a child.
Growing up, he received toys from the Toys for Tots program.
“As a Marine, I’ve been able to help out with the program,” Kelty said.
For the past 10 years Kelty has been committed to the program. He oversaw warehouse operations for the Dayton area, covering a 50-mile radius from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. This year, he’s limited his role due to his schedule but still assists with the program.
In February, Kelty purchased a muffler shop in Dayton, Ohio and continues to give back to the community through his venture. The shop’s an official collection site for Toys for Tots.
Additionally, his shop has partnered with Ohio Needs Jobs and provided three high school seniors with a start to their careers.
The shop also partners with a local church and provides scrap metal that’s turned into cash to assist as needed.
In the end, Kelty wants others to remember to be nice. He said being nice can go a long way in your career or dealing with law enforcement and the general public.