UNC Asheville’s new chief of police wants to change student-police relationship


Jon Grunau

Police Chief Daran Dodd at work in his office.

Jon Grunau, [email protected], News Writer

A new police chief brought a rise in speculation about the future of security with him to UNC Asheville.

“I’m a native of this area,” Dodd said. “Prior to working here I worked at Blue Ridge Community College as their chief of police, so it was only natural that I eventually came here after Chief Boyce left.”

42- year- old Daran Dodd won the 40 Under 40 award in 2019. This award is only given out to 40 police officers throughout the United States who stand out as rising leaders in their profession.

“It’s a nomination from colleagues both inside and outside the agency and in 2019 I went to Chicago with around 18,000 other officers from around the world,” Dodd said. “They came from Dubai, Canada, all over.”

When asked about speculation over increased police involvement with the student body, Dodd said right now is an assessment phase and he is changing things as he sees them, such as getting all of the campus police CIT trained.

The chief said CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Training, a community-based course intent on teaching officers the proper ways to respond to a crisis call.

“It’s a 40 hour class taught by folks who aren’t in law enforcement,” Dodd said. “It teaches our officers how to handle situations until someone who is more trained can intervene. I think it’s important for all of us to be able to do, especially on this campus.”

Dodd said officers have already been sent to be trained and the rest are soon to follow.

Campus safety being a group effort is a shared belief according to officer Danny Moss in an interview from February 2022. 

“The student body should also continue to be aware of the well-being of the students. We talk about ‘see something, say something.’ If it’s weird for Asheville, call it in,” Moss said.

Dodd then began to elaborate on community engagement, explaining his future plans for police and student interaction on campus.

“We want people to see us as part of the community. We want to interact with students, and we want them to understand we see them and they see us. We want to be seen as people, and that we’re two people coming at the same problems from different angles,” he said.

Student’s have expressed fear of uniformed police officers on campus in the past. When asked about this, Dodd said it goes back to community involvement. 

“When the police are interacting with students, it’s more important for a student to feel like they can trust them,” the chief said.

Dodd said his end goal is a stronger and safer community, both for students and faculty. 

In an interview with the Director of Emergency Management David Weldon last February, he expressed a similar sentiment.

“Everyone on campus has a responsibility to the safety of the campus. If you see something you think we need to know about, it’s not being a tattletale,” Weldon said. “It’s just letting us know so we’re aware and can make the campus safe.”

Dodd commented on the importance of the student and police relationship at UNC Asheville.

“It’s about partnership. We can’t do everything ourselves and we rely on the student body to trust us and report anything suspicious or dangerous,” Dodd said.