Trophies brought home from national criminal justice conference.

Trophies brought home from national criminal justice conference.

Cleveland – Four Peru State students participated in the 2018 National American Criminal Justice Association/Lambda Alpha Epsilon Conference Ohio. The theme for this year’s conference was Modern Technology, Police Training & Equipment and Police Accountability & Community Involvement.

The students were accompanied by Danny Hayes, instructor of criminal justice, and Dr. Amber Mahan, assistant professor of criminal justice. Both serve as advisors for Peru State’s chapter of ACJA/LAE, Kappa Omicron Rho.  LAE is a national criminal justice honor’s society.

Students and their faculty advisors are dressed for the awards ceremony.

Conference attendees, from left to right, Danny Hayes (Auburn, Nebraska); Samantha Carlson (Cozad, Nebraska); Hailey Bouwens (Lincoln, Nebraska); Samantha Daake (Beatrice, Nebraska); Keri Anderson (Adams, Nebraska); and Dr. Amber Mahan (Plattsmouth, Nebraska).

Mahan said, “Being involved with this organization allows the students a realistic view as to what is to come when choosing a career in the criminal justice field.”

Those who participated at the ACJA/LAE Conference worked with experts from the Independence Ohio Police Department and a series of other law enforcement professionals from the Cleveland area. There were approximately 317 students and professional members from across the country in attendance.

Participants also heard from current Independence Ohio Chief Michael Kilbane.  Kilbane has almost thirty years of law enforcement experience and oversees all police operations of the Cleveland suburb.

Samantha Carlson, president of Kappa Omicron Rho, said, “The conference and being a part of LAE allows me to make connections within the organization that will assist me in the future.”

Attendees also had a chance to participate in written examinations (criminal law, police management, juvenile justice, corrections and LAE knowledge), a crime scene investigation, firearms and physical agility competition. The participants were split into three categories: 1) a lower division for students with under 70 credit hours; 2) an upper division for students with over 70 credit hours; and 3) a professional division. Those who placed within the top three in their category were recognized and received a trophy.

Students are bundled up due to unseasonable chill.

The attending students and faculty standing in front of one of the training courses.

Peru State College participants earned five national trophies this year including two first place trophies in the professional division.

Samantha Carlson was awarded the Richard McGrath Memorial Fund Scholarship. The scholarship covers the registration fee for the national conference and is only available to ACJA/LAE members that are majoring in criminal justice and are active in their local club and regional conference.

Joni Monroe (Van Buren, Arkansas) also received a Gold Key Award earlier in the academic year. Gold Keys are awarded to LAE members who hold a Bachelors Degree and an average GPA of 3.5 or above. She did not attend the conference.

Mahan, Hayes and Carlson earned an Honorable Mention in Crime Scene Investigations.

Dr. Amber Mahan won third place in the Physical Agility competition for women between the ages of 26 and 35.

For the second year in a row, Danny Hayes took first place in both the Physical Agility competition for men over age 36 and in the examination for Lambda Alpha Epsilon Knowledge.  He also reached third place in the examination on Juvenile Delinquency and second in the examination about Corrections.

Cleveland's skyline is in the background.

Posing with the Cleveland sign.

For more information about ACJA/LAE at Peru State, contact Danny Hayes at or Dr. Amber Mahan at

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