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November 11, 2020

Waxahachie, TX | Andrew Hurst

Officer Umphenour (Left) with Professor Bruce Stayments (right)

Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s (SAGU) Criminal Justice students witnessed police dogs in action during a recent demonstration on the school’s campus.

On October 29, six law enforcement officers from various K9 Units in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex visited with SAGU students to share insight into the life and career of a K9 Officer.

Bruce Stayments, Program Coordinator for SAGU’s Criminal Justice program coordinated this special event. “I asked a number of K9 officers that I personally know if they could come in together and put this on for the students, and we finally made it happen…

It went better than I ever dreamed. ” – Bruce Stayments, Criminal Justice Program Coordinator

The officers gave an overview of the types of operations in which K9 units are deployed and the nature of their work. They provided details as to how the dogs are utilized to find missing people, search for narcotics, and assist the S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams.

Matthew Umphenour, K9 Deputy serving out of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the six law enforcement officers who helped lead the demonstration. Umphenour also attended SAGU from 2011 to 2013 studying Criminal Justice.

“The experience went really well,” said Umphenour. “To encourage someone pursuing a Criminal Justice degree to pursue law enforcement with all that’s going on in our nation right now-it’s just good to see that people aren’t giving up. And, the student response was great. They asked a lot of good questions and I think they really enjoyed the bite scenario.”

The bite scenario was certainly a highlight for many of the students. The officers simulated a chase scenario with the dogs by strapping on some protective equipment and allowing the trained dogs to chase them down.

Officers Reid Golson and Matthew Umphenour demonstrate a bite scenario for
SAGU students

Umphenour shared that numerous pamphlets were brought over from the Collin County Sheriff’s Office providing information about employment opportunities. “By the time it was over, we had none left!” he exclaimed.

In addition to Umphenour, SAGU alumnus and Collin County K9 Officer, Reid Golson, also led the demonstration. “I would definitely be interested in coming back for another K9 demo,” he said. “It gives us a chance to promote our agency and it also gives the students an in-depth look into how our K9teams operate.”

Bruce Stayments shared that while this is not the first time a K9 unit has led a demonstration for his students, this year was particularly special to him. Four of the six officers were all former students or a former member of one of his Law Enforcement Explorer groups.

“I had that little time in their life when I poured into them and now they’re all doing it,” said Stayments. “I got to tell Matt (Umphenour), ‘I’m so proud of you.’”

For Deputy Umphenour, it was the influence of Professor Bruce Stayments who ultimately guided him towards law enforcement. Through the recent K9demonstration, Stayments also encouraged him to enroll in the department’s recently launched Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) in Criminal Justice. Through this new degree, Umphenour can utilize his real-world experience on the job for class credit.

“I’m just so proud of him, Reid, Officers Johnny Determan and Charles Banks (two other officers who led the demonstration), and all of my students. The whole event just went really well!” said Stayments.

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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