By Jeff Murphy, November 18, 2019
WARRENSBURG, MO – Demonstrating why the University of Central Missouri has a national reputation for its criminal justice program, a team of CJ students has accomplished what no other team has done in the history of the American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA) Region III Competition. For the 18th consecutive year, UCM’s Lambda Alpha Epsilon - Gamma Epsilon Delta (LAE-GED) chapter has captured the regional Sweepstakes Trophy. This guarantees students an opportunity to compete for the national title, which UCM has claimed continuously for 17 years.
At the regional event, UCM competed against colleges and universities of all sizes from Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to claim the top award. The fall 2019 fall competition took place Oct. 17-20 at Fort Hays State University in Fort Hays, Kan.
Gregg Etter, a professor of criminal justice who serves as the team advisor, said a point system was used to determine the winner of the Sweepstakes Trophy. Points were awarded on the basis of trophies received for the top three placements in each category, and the higher the placement the more points awarded. On its way to claiming victory, UCM garnered 66 overall points, 22 higher than the next closest competitor.
Thirty-four students represented UCM in competitive categories that included five academic exams on criminal law, policing, juvenile justice, corrections and LAE knowledge. Other competitive events dealt with knowledge and skills in crime scene investigation, physical agility, and firearms. They also provided an opportunity for students to create, display, and present their academic posters.
“It’s a lot of fun to work with really sharp students,” Etter said in talking about the regional win and his team members. “They want to be here. They want to learn, and they want to work hard.”
He called LAE students the “cream of the cream” commending their commitment to do what is necessary to continually win in the annual competition. He said winning at the regional level is very challenging considering the large number of outstanding teams. With its long history of success, UCM has become the team everyone wants to beat, Etter noted. He also talked about what’s ahead at the national competition in March 2019 in Kansas City.
“Other universities are upping their game. It’s a bare knuckle brawl at nationals. That means we have to study harder and work harder. There are no off days. It’s a contest,” he said. “We don’t win by divine right. We win by hard work.”
Lynn Urban, professor of criminal justice and chair of the School of Public Services, commended the student team during an awards reception Nov. 7. Citing a number of examples of famous winning streaks, she noted the rarity of what the LAE team accomplished, “I know that winning championships doesn’t come by accident. I know how hard all of you have worked. I’ve seen you in study groups…That’s the reason why you are all sitting here, and all these trophies are in front of you.”
Bestsy Kreisel, associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, told the group, “I sincerely appreciate what you do and what your advisors do. You look good, you are good, and you makes us look good. Keep it up. UCM is extremely proud of you.”
The following is a list of criminal justice team members and their advisors, along with a list of awards received by a number of participants. All of these individuals contributed to the Sweepstakes Trophy.