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October 21, 2012

Chason earns recognition as ULM's 2012 Alumni Service Award recipient

When Captain Dan Chason came to the University of Louisiana at Monroe Police Department in 2005, ULM Police Chief Larry Ellerman recruited him with this mission in mind—to establish and maintain an active and progressive training division.

Chason has not only met but far exceeded that expectation, making ULM one of the safest campuses around, according to Ellerman.

Chason—the 2012 recipient of the annual ULM Alumni Service Award—established an eight-week, accredited self-defense program that was a milestone, said Ellerman, one that became so popular attendees are regularly placed on a waiting list.

"Students, staff and faculty enroll in high numbers because they want to learn the art of self-protection and self-awareness," explained Ellerman.

"And Captain Chason teaches it in such a way as to make it clear how it fits in a real-world setting."

Chason specializes in a domestic violence/date rape/sexual assault prevention program available through ULM's Department of Criminal Justice.

"It is one of the most rewarding aspects of this job," Chason said. "When a young student comes to me and thanks me because she knows how to respond in a critical situation and isn't afraid anymore, that's worth everything."

Chason procured, for free, hand-to-hand combat equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as full self-defense suits, helmets and face shields from the United States Customs and Border Patrol in Minnesota for use in his many classes.

The suits, which are also available to help smaller police departments in the area with training, simulate an actual attack so that defenders can use full effort to strike back at the offender without inflicting serious harm.

Chason also played a key role in securing close to $100,000 in funding for newer ULM patrol vehicles, according to Ellerman, and he volunteers as a police escort for the ULM Warhawks during away-from-home games.

"This is a significant thing, because it entails a lot of hours ensuring that the football team is transported safely to and from venues across the south," said Ellerman.

Supporting the Warhawks is second nature for Chason, whose son is set to graduate from ULM in December.

Chason was so thrilled at the game-winning touchdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sept. 8 that he delivered a giant bear hug to ULM head football coach Todd Berry in a moment of pure joy that was captured by television cameras and re-played on the Internet for weeks.

The students of the ULM fishing team are also special to Chason, who serves as the team's co-advisor.

The team recently completed a winning season in which they ranked second in the nation following tournaments sanctioned by the Association of Collegiate Anglers.

"What is so interesting is that when the spotlight was on them, our kids were more concerned about the return of the fish caught safely back to the tournament waters, than with their own glory," noted Chason. "That's character."

Chason, who started fishing as a young boy in Georgia with his grandfather, still finds it to be one of the greatest stress relievers around.

Chason served as emcee of the inaugural Collegiate Bass Ouachita River Invitational, assisting with the set-up and entertaining guest anglers and visitors.

He contributes weekly columns to The News-Star and a monthly column to BayouLife Magazine. He also formerly starred in a television program geared toward the outdoors.

In 2010, Chason was nominated for the Congressional Badge of Bravery and the Northeast "Top Cop" award for his rescue actions in May 2010 that prevented four students from drowning.

A year later, the Northeast Crisis Intervention Team recognized his actions regarding a disturbed individual under the influence of drugs and designated Chason the "CIT Officer of the Year."

Under Ellerman's direction, Chason has coordinated active shooter and response training to over 24 area jurisdictions in the last year.

Chason rose through the ranks and was promoted to Field Training Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant and, more recently, to his current position as Captain.

Chason credits his successful law enforcement career at ULM to his wife and to Ellerman, the man he calls his "boss, mentor, leader and friend."

Chason adds, "It's my hope that his investment in me has paid off."

He is married to Michele, a registered nurse at Glenwood Regional Medical Center, and they have five children.

Chason and his wife are eagerly anticipating the birth of their sixth grandchild.

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