Dedication and determination led Crystal Todd to become a police officer

Gaston College BLET program graduate joined the force in July 2021.

Crystal Todd found her calling as a Gaston College Police Officer after almost 20 years in other professions. Her career path took a number of turns until an opportunity at the College led her to a job that has fulfilled her goals and aspirations.

A native of Gaston County, Todd earned an Associate in Applied Science in Interpreter Education and worked for a time as a sign language interpreter for Gaston County Schools. She then had a 14-year stint with Estes Express Lines, first as a truck driver and then as a check-in clerk, but working the second shift made it difficult to balance the demands of work and family.

When a friend encouraged her to consider a part-time security position at Gaston College, Todd felt the hours and responsibilities would better suit her needs. She was hired by Campus Police and Security in January 2017. “The change in hours and the opportunity to meet and get to know and support people on campus were really appealing,” she said. “That job helped me discover a new career direction.”

In June 2018, Todd accepted a communications and dispatching specialist position with the same department and remained in that position after she entered the College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program the following January. “Although I was older than most who start on a career in law enforcement,” said Todd, “having worked with a group of people who were so dedicated to helping and serving others made me realize that this was the path I wanted to take.”

Todd had to drop out of the program in February 2019 following an injury sustained during a physically demanding training drill. After rehabilitation, she returned to the program in July 2019, and finished at the top in physical fitness testing on her final assessment. She graduated from the BLET program in December 2019 at the age of 48.

After graduation, she worked full-time as a Communications Specialist at the College and became a reserve deputy at the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, which allowed her to keep her BLET certificate in place. She was hired as Gaston College’s first female Campus Police Officer in July 2021, and acknowledges and appreciates the support she has received from her fellow officers and everyone at the College. Todd has worked on all three Gaston College campuses, and intends to remain as a Campus Police Officer until she retires.

“I wanted to hire Crystal due to her outstanding character,” said Talmadge McInnis, Chief of Police and Security. “She demonstrated a ‘never give up’ attitude and strong desire to achieve higher goals by entering the challenging BLET program at an age when some people might think they are too old or can’t do it. When most classmates were in their 20s, Crystal excelled. Combining this positive attitude with her life experiences and compassion, Crystal would be an asset to any organization and we feel fortunate that she chose to come to work for Gaston College as a police officer.”

Gaston College gave Todd the opportunity and skills to establish herself in a fulfilling profession. “Gaston College has a top-notch program and a lot is expected of you,” she said. “The College’s pass rate on the state exam is very high, proving the success of the BLET program. I highly recommend the program for anyone interested in law enforcement.”

She encourages other females to consider a career in law enforcement. “Start preparing before you start BLET and know that it is hard work,” she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Respect yourself so that others will respect you.”

For more information about the Gaston College BLET program, click here.

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