Former colleagues recall Owen as mentor, friend

Former colleagues of Keith Owen, a 27-year veteran of the Tiffin Police Department who died Monday, remembered him Tuesday as a best friend and as a mentor.

“He was the best cop I’ve ever worked with,” said Dave Hartsel, who retired as a lieutenant from the police department in 2010.

Owen, 72, retired from the police department in 1989 as a detective and worked closely with Hartsel, who began at the department in 1977.

“He was kind of my mentor,” he said. “He taught me just about everything I knew about criminal investigation.”

Hartsel, who worked with Owen on road patrol and in the detective bureau, described him as “the fairest cop” because he treated everyone with respect to their humanity.

Hartsel said their relationship didn’t end with work. They also were close friends.

“Even after retirement, we got together,” he said. “We drank a lot of beer and rode a lot of motorcycles together.”

Hartsel said Owen, a graduate of the 107th class of the FBI National Academy, also helped him get into the FBI National Academy. Hartsel was a graduate of the 167th class, he said.

Michelle Craig, who retired from the police department this year as a lieutenant, also attributed much of her success to Owen.

“If it wasn’t for Keith Owen, I probably wouldn’t have been a police officer as long as I was,” she said.

Owen supported Craig as the first female officer, she said, even when no one else offered support. She said they worked together for more than 10 years.

“He gave me the support I needed,” Craig said. “He saw the potential in me and he allowed me to go out and do my job.”

“I have nothing but good to say about the man,” Hartsel said. “I’m going to dearly miss him.”