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BRCC police chief wins worldwide association's 40 under 40 Leadership Award

BRCC Police Chief Daran Dodd received the International Association of Chiefs of Police 40 Under 40 Leadership Award. BRCC Police Chief Daran Dodd received the International Association of Chiefs of Police 40 Under 40 Leadership Award.

Blue Ridge Community College Police Chief Daran Dodd, who built the campus police force from the ground up and instituted active shooter and sexual assault training for students and faculty, was recently selected as one of 40 law enforcement professionals from around the world to receive the International Association of Chiefs of Police 40 Under 40 Leadership Award.


Dodd completed his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and his master’s degree in public affairs at Western Carolina University. He began his law enforcement career with the Asheville Police Department. In 2005, he moved to Raleigh and went to work for the State of North Carolina as a special agent with the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue.

“After a decade in Raleigh, I decided I wanted to come back home to the mountains and in 2015 I took the Police Chief position at Blue Ridge Community College,” Dodd said.

His employees at Blue Ridge and his colleagues from other police departments across the state nominated him for the 40 Under 40 Award.

According to the IACP’s website, the individuals selected for the 40 Under 40 Award are chosen from a very competitive field of applicants by review panels composed of law enforcement executives, previous awardees and international representatives. They represent the top rising leaders from around the globe, exemplifying leadership, dedication, and service to their communities and the law enforcement profession.

This year’s recipients represent local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the military. They hail from the U.S., Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Solomon Islands, Colombia, India, and Spain. They include chiefs of police, special agents, captains, lieutenants, and troopers among other roles.

Chief Dodd believes he was selected because of his work creating and growing the Blue Ridge Police Department from being nonexistent when he first started to being a full-service department today that focuses on strong community partnerships and employee development.

“We built everything from the ground up, including hiring patrol officers, purchasing law enforcement vehicles and equipment, implementing new technology and training into our police work, writing operating policies and procedures, and we ultimately created a police department that is recognized, and certified, by the State of North Carolina,” he said.

Blue Ridge Police Department utilizes a variety of technology in their work, ranging from surveillance cameras and lighting placement to criminal databases and computers in their patrol cars. The police department has also recently submitted criminal evidence (DNA) for forensic processing by the North Carolina Western Regional Crime Lab located in Edneyville. Chief Dodd has worked to build relationships with our local law enforcement partners by participating in joint training, joint exercises, and by regularly attending meetings with other agency directors.

Dodd also introduced Blue Ridge to Secure, Alert, Fight, Evacuate (SAFE) training, which teaches faculty and staff how to address potentially life-threatening situations. Through hands-on training, people learn everything from barricading doors to stopping assailants until police arrive. Dodd is actually friends with the creator of the program, a former police chief at Furman University.

Remaining current and informed, Blue Ridge officers go beyond their state required 24 training hours and have attended hundreds of hours of advanced training in areas ranging from solo active shooter response to criminal investigations.

In addition to SAFE training, Blue Ridge officers also provide Rape Aggression self-defense training for the campus community.

Blue Ridge President Laura Leatherwood praised Dodd and his team for working so closely with the local community.

“We are so excited for Daran," she said. "He and his officers are an invaluable addition to the Blue Ridge staff. We feel safe at work each day because of their continuous training and attention to detail, and I believe it’s this level of dedication that won him this award."
Contrary to leaders who shout orders without ever asking subordinates’ opinions, Dodd welcomes the input of his officers every day, and uses this input to improve his team’s efficiency.

“I believe all my officers have valid opinions, and I’m willing to hear them out if they believe they know a better way of doing something. It’s all about collaboration,” he said.

Dodd will receive the 40 Under 40 Award in an official ceremony hosted by IACP in Chicago.