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
“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:
- 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
- Corrections – Laker won first place and Ortiz won third place in the professional
- Juvenile Justice – Laker won second place and Ortiz won third place in the professional
- 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.
Seth Gifford, a freshman biomedical engineering student from Bloomington, Illinois,
placed first in the 25 years of age and under division.
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.