SRO Dodson Earns National Award for DRIVE Program

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Rutherford County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Dodson

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Dodson, who serves as a school resource officer, was named the recipient of the 2024 “Innovation in the Classroom Award.”

The award is presented by The National Road Safety Foundation and the National Association of School Resource Officers. Deputy Dodson will receive the award July 15 at the annual NASRO Conference in Phoenix.

The award, which recognizes innovative teaching of traffic safety in schools by a police officer, carries with it full conference registration and an expenses-paid trip to the NASRO Conference.

Dodson has been a school resource officer for 15 years of his 26-year law enforcement career.

In 2014, he started a teen defensive driving program called DRIVE – Defense Response Improving Vehicle Education.
The two-day program, which includes online and hands-on components, is available for students from the County’s 51 schools as well as home schooled students.

It is presented several times throughout the year and covers topics including driver responsibilities, aggressive driving, distracted driving, the effects of speed, following distance, intersection safety, fatigued driving, alcohol laws and effect of alcohol on driving, severe weather driving and more.

A companion program for parents was added two years ago.

NASRO Executive Director Mo Canady, said, “Deputy Dodson has developed an effective program that has helped thousands of teens in his county become safe drivers.”

Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations at The National Road Safety Foundation, said, “We are pleased to recognize Deputy Dodson’s efforts that continue to have a positive impact on the safety of our young people on the road.”

Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said SRO Dodson sincerely cares about teaching students the DRIVE class.

“We commend SRO Dodson for educating teens about safe driving habits we hope they will use for a lifetime,” Fitzhugh said.

NASRO, the world’s leader in school-based policing, was founded in 1991 for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security and/or safety professionals who work as partners to protect schools and their students, faculty and staff members.

NASRO developed the “triad” concept of school-based policing, which divides SRO responsibilities into three areas: educator, informal counselor/mentor and law enforcement officer.

By training law enforcement officers to educate, counsel and protect school communities, the more than 3,000 men and women of NASRO continuously lead by example and promote a positive image of law enforcement to school children and school communities. For more information, go to www.nasro.org

The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that for more than 60 years has been dedicated to reducing crashes, deaths and injuries on our nation’s highways by promoting safe driving habits through greater public awareness.

NRSF resources, which are free, deal with distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driver proficiency and pedestrian safety. The Foundation also works with youth advocacy groups and sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org.

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