Peru State students, faculty host and compete at American Criminal Justice Association conference.

Peru State students, faculty host and compete at American Criminal Justice Association conference.


December 19, 2016, 3:00 p.m. CDT

Contact Jason Hogue, Peru State College Marketing and Communications, 402.872.2429


This is the third part of a seven part series on conferences Peru State students attended in the fall of 2016.


Lincoln, Nebraska- The Kappa Omicron Rho chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon conducted the 2016 American Criminal Justice Association Lambda Alpha Epsilon (ACJA/LAE) Region 3 Conference. Peru State students raised the funds to attend the conference.

Kappa Omicron Rho also brought home nine top-ten finishes from the ACJA/LAE conference. Throughout the conference participants took part in written examinations, a physical agility competition, crime scene investigation, firearms competition and a research poster competition.

Conference Director and ACJA/LAE Region 3 Vice President Danny Hayes stated, “Overall, the conference was an amazing success and the members of Kappa Omicron Rho were amazing in the way the conference was run. I could not be more proud of the way these faculty, students and former students stepped up and took responsibility for making sure that this conference was a success.”

Evan Davies of Omaha placed in the top ten for the upper division four times. He took fourth in the Corrections Test, fourth in the research poster competition, fifth in the Juvenile Justice Test and ninth on the Criminal Law Test.

Hailey Bouwens of Lincoln competed in the lower division Juvenile Justice Test. She took seventh place.

Kapa Omicron Rho also fared well in the physical activity competition. Samantha Carlson of Cozad, Nebraska, took third in the 25-and-under competition. Ronicka Schottel, instructor of criminal justice and LAE advisor, took first place in the 26-to-36 competition. Hayes, also an instructor of criminal justice, took first in the 36-and-over competition.

Kappa Omicron Rho’s firearm’s team took home second place in the Professional Team Competition. The team was comprised of Davies, Hayes and Grant Jensen of Lincoln.

In total, 120 members of Kappa Omicron Rho and 2 guests participated in the activities. The conference hosted members from Peru State College, Central Missouri University, Wayne State College, Metro Community College, Fort Hays State University, Garden City Community College, Kansas State University and Central Methodist University.

Evan Davies writes, “Hosting the ACJA-LAE Region 3 conference was a great opportunity for the members of Kappa Omicron Rho to network with local law enforcement and to compete with the other chapters in our region.  Since Kappa Omicron Rho is a relatively young chapter, we enjoyed the opportunity to host some of the older and more established chapters in our region as a way to show how much we have grown.”

“During the competition, we competed against other schools in our region in academic, firearms, agility, and crime scene competitions.”

Hayes writes, “The conference would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of student and faculty members of Kappa Omicron Rho including Ms. Ronicka Schottel, Dr. Amber Mahan, Evan Davies, Samantha Carlson, Samantha Daake, Hailey Bouwens, Shawn Gaskill, Grant Jensen, Lina Torres and Christian Sanchez. We were also fortunate to have assistance from former students Jake Hedden and April Taggs.”

“Ms. Schottel ran the academic competition and Dr. Mahan ran the crime scene competition. Both did an amazing job! Dr. James Nevitt and Dr. Kelli Gardner, both psychology professors, were also gracious enough to serve as judges for the research poster competition.”

Hayes continues, “The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) was vital in making the conference a success. Members of the NDCS Special Operations Response Team (SORT) ran the firearms competition and did so in excellent fashion.”

“Professional members of ACJA/LAE commented on how this firearms competition was the best run that they had seen. Members of the NDCS Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) ran the physical agility competition and did excellent as well.”

Davies adds, “It was a great opportunity for the members of Kappa Omicron Rho to hear what it is like to work in corrections from the professionals who work in the field.”

“We also invited attorneys from the Nebraska Innocence Project as our keynote speakers who provided an eye-opening look at the Beatrice Six case and what factors can influence a false conviction.”

The NDCS Honor Guard presented the colors for the Saturday evening banquet. During the banquet, Tracy Hightower-Henne, Executive Director of the Nebraska Innocence Project, and Jeff Patterson, Attorney for the Beatrice Six, gave an excellent presentation on wrongful conviction and the Beatrice Six case.

Peru State College is dedicated to providing leadership, research and networking opportunities to students in all disciplines. Conference attendance is an important aspect of the complete college experience.

Dr. Tim Borchers, Vice President of Academic Affairs, writes, “Attending conferences as an undergraduate student not only gives our students a professional experience but it will be a competitive advantage for them as they interview for jobs or graduate school.”


 This is the third part of a seven part series on conferences attended by Peru State students in the fall of 2016. Faculty and student attendees are available to be interviewed through December and January. Call (620) 363-2461 for more information or visit for the complete series.

About Peru State College: Nestled in the historic hills of the Missouri River, the “Campus of a Thousand Oaks” is Nebraska’s oldest college and will celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017.  Peru State College’s constant commitment to academic excellence has resulted in a unique and innovative mix of online, traditional, undergraduate and graduate programs.  Similarly, the college’s ongoing student engagement promotes inquiry, discovery and innovation on-campus and across the region.  Peru State College is committed to being a good steward of education, students, the region and Nebraska for another 150 years.