Trine University wins awards at ACJA regional conference

November 09, 2016


Trine University’s Tau Alpha Omicron (TAO) chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA) won 18 awards at the association’s recent 2016 Lambda Alpha Epsilon Region 6 Conference.

Trine University competed against eight colleges from throughout the Midwest in four categories: written examinations, handgun competition, crime scene investigation and physical agility. The conference was held Nov. 3-6 in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

“Our current and former students represented Trine in an outstanding manner and won many team and individual awards. I could not be any prouder of them,” said Craig Laker, Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Laker and Cisco Ortiz, instructor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Psychology and Social Sciences, accompanied the students as ACJA-TAO Chapter Advisors. Ortiz, Laker and Andrew O’Connor, a fall 2015 graduate, competed in the professional division while the students participated in the lower and upper divisions based on their year of education.

“Most of the attendees were first-time attendees of the ACJA Regional Conference.  They gained a great experience and were able to network with other students from across the Midwest.  Our students did very well in taking on this challenge and learned a lot in regards to what to expect for future conferences”, said Ortiz. “We look forward to competing at the national level in Austin, Texas, next March.”

The regional chapters that attended the conference agreed that Trine University’s chapter will host the event in fall 2017. The conference will bring multiple chapters from the seven-state area (Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa) to northeast Indiana to attend the conference and compete in events.

Trine’s team won eight Academic Awards for testing in the areas of Criminal Law, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Police Management and the History of ACJA-Lambda Alpha Epsilon and 10 awards in the three other competitions. A total of 80 awards were at stake. Trine University won the following awards:

Written Examinations

  • Criminal Law — Richard Hocker, a senior criminal justice major from Angola, Indiana, won first place in the upper division and Ortiz won second place in the professional division.
  • Corrections – Laker won first place and Ortiz won third place in the professional division.
  • Juvenile Justice – Laker won second place and Ortiz won third place in the professional division.
  • Police Management – Taylor Humphrey, a junior criminal justice major from Salem, Indiana, won second place in the upper division.  Ortiz won second place and Laker won third place in the professional division.
  • History of ACJA—Lambda Alpha Epsilon – Ortiz won third place in the professional division.

Crime Scene Investigation (three-member teams)

Humphrey, Hannah Golas, a senior Informatics student from Hartford, Michigan, and Stephanie Pierson, a freshman criminal justice student from Monticello, Indiana, placed second in the upper division.  In the professional division, Laker, Ortiz and O’Connor, now a sergeant with the Parkview Police Department, won first place.

Physical agility

Seth Gifford, a freshman biomedical engineering student from Bloomington, Illinois, placed first in the 25 years of age and under division.

Handgun individual

Ben Davage, a freshman Design Engineering Technology student from Hamilton, Michigan, placed third in the lower division.  O’Connor placed first and Ortiz placed second in the professional division.

Handgun team (three-person team)

Gifford, Davage and Donte Mendez, a freshman criminal justice/psychology student from Angola, Indiana, won third place in the lower division.  Laker, O’Connor and Ortiz placed second in the professional division.

Photo: Front row, from left, Prof. Craig Laker, Hannah Golas, Stephanie Pierson, Taylor Humphrey, Isabel Gomez, Caycia Ransbottom. Middle row from left, Richard Hocker, Prof. Cisco Ortiz, Joseph Manganiello, Ashley Weber, Zach Dietl (Chapter President); Back row, from left, Donte Mendez, Seth Gifford, Ben Davage, Andrew O’Connor, Brandon Heath and Tim Billow.

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