Trine takes 5 awards at ACJA nationals

ACJA Nationals

HUNT VALLEY, Md. – Trine University students and faculty recently attended the 2019 American Criminal Justice Association—Lambda Alpha Epsilon (ACJA-LAE) National Conference hosted by Region 4 of the ACJA. 

Students and faculty members/advisors competed against dozens of other chapters from colleges throughout the nation, earning awards and recognition. Attendees competed in four categories: written examinations, handgun competition, crime scene investigation and physical agility. Trine’s chapter, Tau Alpha Omicron (TAO), competed at the lower student, upper student and professional levels. 

“Once again, we were able to have some of our newer members join us to compete in the events,” said Cisco Ortiz, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and co-advisor of TAO. “We had an outstanding effort by our students in the competitions and in coordination of the events. It was a great experience for them to compete against other schools from across the nation.”

Trine’s TAO members won five of 89 awards at the competition, held March 4-8 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Ortiz, also a 1999 Trine graduate, and Mike Hess, retired Steuben County prosecuting attorney, competed in the professional division, while students participated in the lower and upper divisions based on their year of education.

“We were quite impressed with how well our students performed against other universities,” said Hess, who currently serves as assistant professor in Trine’s Department of Criminal Justice and co-advisor of TAO. “This semester, our students conducted practice runs in all categories. They held study sessions on weekends and evenings for the written exams, conducted practice CSI sessions and held firearms practice at Thunder Lakes Indoor Range throughout the previous month.”

Written Examinations

  • ACJA-LAE History — MaKenna Knuth, a junior criminal justice major from Lake Villa, Illinois, won second place in the upper division.  Devin Daniel, a sophomore criminal justice and psychology major from Martinsville, Indiana, won third place in lower division.

Firearms Team (three-member teams)

  • Ben Davage, a senior Design Engineering Technology student from Hamilton, Michigan; Dylan Collins, a junior criminal justice student from Richmond, Indiana; and Dakota Snyder, a freshman criminal justice student from St. Joe, Indiana, placed third in the upper division. Ortiz placed first in the professional division.

Physical Agility

  • Collins placed third in the men ages 18-24 category.

Ortiz said TAO chapter members thank everyone who supported fundraisers and provided donations toward the costs of attendance, travel, food and lodging, in addition to Thunder Lakes Indoor Range/Outdoor Sports, which assisted with the purchase of practice ammunition and range time in preparation for the event. 

“The student members pulled together recently to raise funds in order to assist with the costs of the events,” he said. “We are grateful to those members of Trine University student body, staff and faculty who provided the financial support at our fundraisers.”