UCM’s Criminal Justice dominates nationals


Members of the UCM Criminal Justice team display their numerous accolades received during the national championships.

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Members of the UCM Criminal Justice team display their numerous accolades received during the national championships.
(Courtesy photo) Members of the UCM Criminal Justice team display their numerous accolades received during the national championships.

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The University of Central Missouri’s Gamma Epsilon Delta Chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association/Lambda Alpha Epsilon professional fraternity returned from the 2013 National Conference at King of Prussia, Pa., with its 11th consecutive Sweepstakes Award as the most successful team at the conference.
The LAE competition is broken down into written tests in academic related subjects of corrections, criminal law, juvenile justice, police administration, and LAE history; crime scene investigation; firearms proficiency and physical agility. The competition is broken down into a lower division of those students with less than 70 semester hours, and upper division of students with 70 or more semester hours, and professional.
In the written exam competition, UCM earned five of the nine trophies in corrections and four of the nine trophies in juvenile justice. Ryan Kanoy received first place, Bethany Grygar earned second place and Tim Fink took third sweeping the lower division. Natalie Copeland’s second place and Sara Thomas’ third place won two of the three spots in the upper division.
In the Juvenile Justice area, Fink received third place in the lower division, with Cody Pieper placing third and Jordan Webb taking second in the upper division. Gregg Etter garnered first place in the professional division.
Thomas Bruning received third place in the LAE Knowledge in the upper division, with Cynthia Ruggles and Roger Pennel receiving a third and second place in the professional division. Lane Laffey and Kanoy, competing in the lower division, received a third and second place for Criminal Law.
UCM won 14 of the 45 trophies in the Academic Testing. It would have taken the efforts of the next three teams, all major criminal justice universities from Texas, Idaho and Connecticut, to surpass the UCM team, with their combined total of 16 trophies.
“The GED Chapter took 200 written exam of the 900 given. We require all members to take all five exams,” said Roger Pennel, team advisor. “They may not make a very high score on an exam, but as long as their score is one point ahead of the second place person, that’s good enough.”
The UCM team performed very well in the Firearms Competition, especially in the individual competition. Taylor Bryan took first place, Parker Smith made second and Fink received third. They swept the lower division. Greg Towe gained first while A.J. Haus garnered second and Camey took third as they swept the upper division. The firearms coach, Richard Gillespie, won first place in the professional division, as well as the Top Gun Award for the top shooter in the competition. In spite of the differing levels of experience with the team overall, the six members receiving trophies in both the lower and upper divisions scored higher than the second place finisher in the profession division.
The UCM chapter took two Firearms Team trophies in both the lower and upper division. The third place team in the lower division consisted of James Dertinger, Jesse James and James Johnson, with first place going to the team of Fink, Smith and Bryan. The second place team in the upper division was composed of Bryan Van Fleet, Camey and Pieper. The team of Colby Harrison, Towe and Haus received first place in the upper division. Out of all firearms competitors from the entire organization, none of the five teams winning Team Firearms awards received more than one team trophy.
“GED was the only multiple winner in both the individual and team firearms,” Gillespie said. “At least six of our people finished higher than the second place professional shooter, but there may have been others who did not trophy. In a number of different areas of the competition, we aren’t being beaten by other chapters; the major competition was from other GED members.”
The UCM team of Lynsey Sciolaro, Caroline Burk and Towe won third place in the Crime Scene Investigation competition in the upper division. Parker Smith also won second in the physical agility competition in the male under 25 years division.
Nathan Hunt received second place in the ACJA/LAE Student Paper competition. According to Etter, “we received one of the nine student paper awards but there was not a single chapter winning more than one award, which means we have good writers in criminal justice throughout the nation.”
UCM won third place in the Group Talent contest.
Pennel indicated that “this year showed a great deal of equality between both the lower and upper divisions. The representatives from each division earned 10 trophies each and also earned 20 trophy points each. Both groups are certainly pulling their weight. We hate to lose the upper division members who are graduating, although we will still have the junior class members. We will have the entire lower division team returning, which looks excellent for next year.”
Etter further indicated that he believes “the key to this current win, as well as the previous ones, is the breadth. We are not a single event team. We win in most areas and in some we win more than our share.”
The UCM chapter is a member of Region Three. The UCM team received its eleventh consecutive regional sweepstakes award at the regional conference in Warrensburg in October 2012. With 42 members, the GED Chapter was the second largest chapter at the conference.
The 2014 ACJA/LAE National Conference is planned for Kansas City, hosted by the UCM chapter and other chapters in Region Three. Pennel is Region Three president, and UCM graduate student Greg Towe has been selected as the national student representative and will, for the next year, serve as a member of the National Executive Board with the six regional presidents.