Law Enforcement Training

WNC Law Enforcement Leadership Academy (LELA) scheduled for 2024

The Western North Carolina Law Enforcement Leadership Academy is more than a training course. The WNCLELA is a problem-based learning style environment where the student is responsible for much of the learning experience. It is an in-depth examination of leadership issues and practices that are either utilized or should be utilized in the law enforcement community. This course was developed by staff at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in conjunction with leaders from area law enforcement agencies.

The program consists of six sessions (230 hours) spaced out over a term of six months. All training will take place in classrooms at AB-Tech Woodfin and will be taught by instructors of A-B Tech and area law enforcement agencies who are authorities within the leadership spectrum. Group and individual assignments will be challenging and thought-provoking. It is the intention of the WNCLELA to produce a graduate who becomes an example of leadership and is a problem solver throughout their respective agencies and the communities they serve.

Instructors include the following area law enforcement leaders:

  • Assistant Special Agent In Charge (ASAC) Casey Drake, NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Western District
  • Chief of Police Chris Beddingfield, Biltmore Forest Police Department
  • Sergeant Rick Tullis, Asheville Police Department
  • Jeff Haynes, Retired Chief Deputy at Haywood County Sheriff's Office, current Director of Public Safety at Haywood Community College
  • Gary Gudac, Retired Captain at Asheville Police Department, current Administrative Captain at Biltmore Forest Police Department
  • Rusty Sweezy, Retired Captain Buncombe County Sheriff's Office, current Parking Services Director Mars Hill University

The Curriculum

The topical areas that make up the WNC Law Enforcement Leadership Academy are broken down into two distinct areas. The first is “self.” Before an employee can be expected to lead others, they must first learn to lead themselves. The second is “organization.” Once the employee is given the tools to lead themselves, they will be shown how leadership and the organization work together to make the agency successful. With this in mind, the academy program is described as follows:

  • Session One - This session introduces the program, which details the academy courses and expectations of the students. The student will be shown leadership philosophy that relates to personal values versus paradigms, being proactive versus reactive, and personal goal setting.
  • Session Two - This session illustrates the importance of emotional intelligence and its impact on leadership abilities, how we individually react to personal and organizational change and group dynamics.
  • Session Three - This session discusses generational values and how they impact work and leadership, how leadership methods change the values of a person, and ethics.
  • Session Four - This session provides the importance of a vision and mission within the organization and how they work to make the employee and the agency successful.
  • Session Five - This session emphasizes organizational behavior, culture, and how to effect change within the agency.
  • Session Six - A one-day review of the program will be detailed. Days two, three, and four will allow for presentations and program graduation.

2024 Course Dates

  • Session One; January 08 - 12, 2024*
  • Session Two; February 06 - 08, 2024
  • Session Three; March 05 - 07, 2024
  • Session Four; April 09 - 12, 2024
  • Session Five; May 07 - 10, 2024
  • Session Six; June 03 - 07, 2024 *

* Session one is four days to includes a one-day orientation.
* Graduation is currently planned for June 07, 2024

The classroom location will be at the Public Safety Training Center at 24 Canoe Lane, Asheville, NC 28804

To receive an application for WNC LELA, please e-mail either Director Daryl Fisher at or Deputy Director Jeff Augram at or Administrative Assistant Rachel Fields at