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Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and arson dog visit HPU criminal justice class

Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and Nika the arson dog recently visited a Howard Payne University criminal justice class to demonstrate evidence-gathering techniques following acts of arson.

“I try to invite Buddy Preston and Nika every semester to demonstrate to my Introduction to Criminal Justice class the career opportunities they have to choose from, one of which is working with K9s,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor emeritus of criminal justice and sociology. “By the time class is over, students have expanded their knowledge of evidence related to arson and some students now are entertaining the thought of one day becoming an arson investigator.”

Preston hid mock arson evidence in the classroom the day before the demonstration. The following morning, he returned with Nika, who found all the mock evidence. Preston also discussed several solved arson cases in Brown County.

Nika, a Labrador Retriever, has served with the Brownwood Fire Marshal’s office for nine years. During this time, Preston and Nika have had a 98.8% success rate in obtaining evidence for arson cases.

“Buddy Preston is an incredible community servant who loves his job,” said Humeniuk. “He is one of our on-site supervisors for criminal justice interns and he provides excellent guidance in that process. As for Nika, every student wanted to take her home after class.”

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline:Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston and Nika, an arson dog, recently visited a HPU criminal justice class. Preston and Nika are pictured demonstrating evidence-gathering techniques to the class.