Sunny Side Up! – Is that a real badge?

Mary Helen Darah

Ben Bostater

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Sylvania Area Family Services “Shop with a Hero” event at Meijer on W. Central Ave. It is a heartwarming event where children are paired with local firefighters/EMTs and police officers to shop for the holidays. It was there that I ran into Ben Bostater. As someone who has shared the happenings of our police departments in Sylvania, I knew Ben from years of taking the young man’s photo at various police related events. He has been part of the Sylvania Explorer program through the Sylvania Police Department as long as I can remember. The program gives Sylvania School District high school students the opportunity to explore careers in criminal justice. I approached Ben, as he was shopping with a delighted youngster in the toy section at Meijer, and commented on the noticeable upgrade of the Explorer uniform. He responded with, “Um, that’s a real gun Mary Helen and a real badge.” Can we say emotional meltdown in aisle 23?

Ben Bostater, now officially Officer Ben Bostater, is a 2018 graduate of Northview High School. He recently graduated from the University of Toledo with bachelor’s of science in criminal justice. “I probably was about 17 years old when I knew this is what I wanted to do,” he stated. “No one in my family is in law enforcement. I am family friends with another officer who referred me to the Police Explorer program at age 15. That was my first true taste of law enforcement as a potential career. My family was very supportive of my interest in the field but at the same time they were a bit nervous.”

Officer Bostater went to the University of Toledo in the fall of 2018. “I was about three years through my degree and a job opening at Sylvania Township Police Department was posted. I took a break for one semester and went to Owens to complete the Ohio Basic Police Officer Academy,” he recalled. “Once I completed the program, I took the state board test and then started my field training in 2022.”

Currently the young officer is assigned to the Road Patrol Division. “I enjoy the different aspects that I get to be involved in answering calls for service, traffic stops and making house and business checks. Eventually I would like to head toward becoming a Field Training Officer and then go into administration.”

One of the most challenging parts of his job is having to often deal with people that are having the worst day of their lives. However, as a Sylvania officer he feels incredibly supported. “I think having a good support system on the job and outside of work is so important,” he said. “I have my family, I have my friends and I strive to be a ‘regular person’ when I hang up my uniform. Honestly, it is vital to remember that I am not an officer 24/7.”


Officer Bostater believes that one of the greatest aspects of his job is being located in Sylvania Township. “We work in a community that values us and the entire department,” he stated. “The outpouring of support we are shown makes me want to continue my job and especially continue in the Sylvania community. I don’t think people realize that we are forced to make decisions quickly and are forced to make those decisions in rapidly evolving situations. We are doing the best we can during high octane scenarios. I truly believe that the community knows and respects this and supports our department. I’m also extremely fortunate to work with an amazing group of people every day. We all bring something a bit different to the table. When you get a diverse group of people with different skill sets, it makes a well-rounded team.”

The former Explorer and now officer, with a real weapon and badge, feels his career is a dream come true. He said, “I know many young people are hesitant to explore this profession. I would encourage them to give it a try. It is truly a rewarding experience. I am happy every single day that this is what I chose to do.”

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