Crystal Todd has found her calling as the first female member of Gaston College’s campus police.
A Gaston County native, Todd spent nearly two decades in other jobs, and her career path took a number of turns, according to the college’s public relations department. But then an opportunity at the college led her to a job that has fulfilled her goals and aspirations.
Todd earned an associate in applied science degree in interpreter education and worked for a time as a sign language interpreter for the 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. Working the second shift made it difficult to balance the demands of work and family. But 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 the campus’s police and security division five years ago this month.
“The change in hours and the opportunity to meet and get to know and support people on campus were really appealing,” she recently said. “That job helped me discover a new career direction.”
In June of 2018, Todd accepted a communications and dispatching specialist position with the same department and remained in that position after she entered the college’s BLET (or basic law enforcement training) program the following January.
“Although I was older than most who start on a career in law enforcement,” she said, “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 of 2019, following an injury sustained during a physically demanding training drill. After rehabilitation, she returned to the program that July and finished at the top in physical fitness testing on her final assessment. At the age of 48, she was among the BLET graduates of December of ’19.
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. And in July, she was hired as Gaston College’s first female campus police officer. She acknowledges and appreciates the support she has received from her fellow officers and everyone at the college. Todd has worked on all three of the college’s campuses, and she intends to remain as a campus police officer until she retires, according to Gaston College Police and Security Chief Talmadge McInnis.
“I wanted to hire Crystal due to her outstanding character,” said McInnis. “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 20’s, 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,” she said, “and a lot is expected of you. 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.”
Todd encourages other females to consider a career in law enforcement.
“Start preparing before you start BLET,” she said, “and know that it is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Respect yourself, so that others will respect you.”