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Deputy overcomes odds to earn master's degree
Dec 21, 2012 | 487 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fred Denham had plenty of reasons for not getting a college education. None of them stopped him. Denham overcame tremendous odds Friday when he received a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education with an emphasis in Homeland Security from Northwestern State University.

Denham, 44, is the lead investigator for the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office. He earned an associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree in his 40’s after dropping out of high school in ninth grade and later earning a GED.

“Getting an associate degree was something I wanted to achieve,” said Denham, who lives in Florien. “Once I did that, I saw how close I was to getting a bachelor’s, and the agency I was working for at the time had an incentive program in place. Once I had the bachelor’s, my peers and supervisors encouraged me to keep going and get the master’s degree. Once I looked into the program and saw what it had to offer, I knew it was something I would like to do.”

Denham said the degree program taught him about education, criminal justice and homeland security. As part of his work, he gives seminars for law enforcement personnel and the public.

It provided me with more knowledge, but it taught me how to present information,” said Denham. “I know how to present information. I use stories and relate information in a way that keeps their interest. For example, when I talk to fellow law enforcement personnel, I don’t want to bore them with a bunch of slides that they can read.”

As an investigator, Denham has a job that often requires him to work extra hours, so the flexibility of an online degree program was important to him.

“I didn’t have to adjust my work schedule to go to college,” said Denham. “The instructors were a tremendous help all the way through. They understood what else we had going on. They set out the course requirements very clearly, so you knew what you had to get done.”

Denham served in the military and has worked as a paramedic and in the oil industry. He has found law enforcement provides him with the most personal fulfillment.

“I want to be someone that helps people and the community and law enforcement provides the best way for me to do that,” he said.

Information on Northwestern State’s Master of Arts degree in Adult Education with an emphasis in Homeland Security or the Master of Science in Homeland Security is available at

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