HPU’s criminal justice program celebrates 10-year anniversary

steve tidwell for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2013 – Howard Payne University celebrated a decade of preparing students for careers in the criminal justice field this year, and faculty, staff, students and alumni of the program commemorated the occasion with a picnic held during HPU’s Homecoming Weekend earlier this month. Steve Tidwell, a 1974 HPU graduate and retired FBI agent, spoke during the event.

In 2003, Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program, wrote the criminal justice curriculum for the university. The program started with only 10 students, but quickly grew to become one of the university’s most popular academic offerings. Humeniuk now oversees a program with 80 students.

Several of those students were in attendance as Tidwell, now a managing director for global risk management firm Freeh Group International Solutions, spoke at the picnic. Tidwell received a degree in Christian education at HPU, planning to pursue a ministry-related career.

“However,” Tidwell said, “If God can call you to a career, he can call you away from it.”

He went on to spend 34 years in law enforcement, including eight years as a police officer with the Richardson Police Department and 26 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also served as a leadership consultant and executive director of the FBI National Academy Associates, Inc.

Tidwell entered the FBI in 1983 and served in a variety of capacities including investigative agent, SWAT team member, protection detail for the FBI director and Attorney General, supervisory special agent and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City Division.

In 2002, Tidwell was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville Field Office. During the high-profile sniper investigation in the Washington, D.C. area that year, he was detailed to serve as an on-scene commander and supervised the crime scene at the arrest site.

Tidwell continued to serve the FBI in several more positions. He was the FBI’s first National Asset Commander for major tactical and crisis incidents and was responsible for the FBI’s overall national response to Hurricane Katrina. At the time of his retirement from the bureau in 2009, he was responsible for more than 14,000 of the FBI’s personnel and the programs they supported.

“We were very blessed to have an HPU alumnus of Mr. Tidwell’s caliber return to address our current students who are planning to go in to similar career fields,” Humeniuk said. “We look forward to having these same students return to HPU in several years to discuss their own successes.”

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Photo cutline: Steve Tidwell, 1974 HPU graduate and former FBI agent, spoke at an event marking the 10-year anniversary of the university’s criminal justice program.