ACJA-LAE Members Win Big At Regional Conference

Sara J Dufort

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While most students at our university were worrying about homecoming weekend, eleven members of the American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA) were on their

ACJA Members who attended Regional Competitions

way to compete in their annual regional conference at West Virginia State University. These students had spent weeks preparing and hoped that they would come away with some trophies for their efforts. They were chosen by a panel, and included Sara Dufort, Timmy Farmer, Roman Gray, Rjay Irons, Angela Martello, Devin McCabe, Ross Oliver, Stephanie Pajak, Liliana Queiroga, Kyle Turpin, and Adam Wolfe. While the road was not easy, in the end, these students’ dedication paid off.

What people do not realize about conferences like this is that they are not all fun and games. These students had to be prepared and study. With only three weeks, this was a difficult task for the newcomers, as they did not have to take just one written test, but five. The subjects were from a wide variety of subjects in the criminal justice field: Criminal Law, Police Management, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and ACJA-LAE knowledge. There was also a competition in crime scenes, shooting, and physical agility, which arguably needed less preparation.

The students who competed revolved their day, and their outfits, around these tests, and this would be where the fun factor came in. For instance, when the shooting competition was taking place, everyone dressed up in black ACJA t-shirts, camouflage pants, boots, and painted their faces blue and yellow for UNH. On the final day, the members changed not only one time, but three. This brought them a lot of attention from other chapters, as well as the judges. When all was said and done, our chapter of the ACJA, Psi Omega, came away with the coveted Spirit Award. All the students noted above received this.

Yet the conference was not only about testing and getting the spirit award. After all, the students were in West Virginia for almost five days. West Virginia State University planned a variety of demonstrations and presentations to keep them occupied while they were there. For instance, on the first day of the conference, they held a career fair that included agencies like the FBI, DEA, as well as local law enforcement agencies. The students were able to meet agents from these organizations and get information about how they might apply for a job. As well, each day there was a presentation. One day the students learned about what a Fusion Center is and another, they learned about a case in West Virginia from a retired agent of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

When all the testing was done, the awards banquet came, along with anxiety about whether they might win a trophy. The first category that was announced was the academic awards. For Criminal Law, Rjay Irons took second place, lower division, and Daniel Maxwell took first place for professional division. In Police Management, Tim Farmer took second place for the lower division as well. It was a slow start, but when LAE knowledge awards came, it was nothing short of a sweep. Psi Omega took first, second, and third in both lower and upper division. For the lower division, Sara Dufort took first place, Tim Farmer took second place, and Stephanie Pajak took third place. For the upper division, Angela Martello took first place, Devin McCabe took second, and Kyle Turpin took third.

As for firearms and crime scene, Psi Omega also did not come away empty handed. It is important to note that there was both team and individual awards for shooting. For team firearms, Roman Gray, Kyle Turpin, and Devin McCabe came away with first place in the Upper Division. In the lower division, Tim Farmer and Rjay Irons got second place. As for the individual, Roman Gray placed second, and Rjay Irons third, both in lower division. Finally, there were awards for crime scene which Psi Omega got third place in. The members on this team included: Liliana Queiroga, Tim Farmer, and Stephanie Pajak.

When all was said and done, the team of students came away with 16 trophies and 7 metals. They enjoyed themselves, and that enjoyment paid off. The University of New Haven will be hosting this conference at this time next year, and we hope that every student on campus can get involved in some way; even if that is just making the other chapters feel welcomed while they are here.

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ACJA-LAE Members Win Big At Regional Conference