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Northwestern College Hosts American Criminal Justice Association’s Collegiate Regional Conference

[Bridgeview, IL] – This past weekend Northwestern College hosted the American Criminal Justice Association Lambda Alpha Epsilon Region 6 Conference at its Bridgeview Campus. In total, 128 students from 16 schools and 6 states participated in the three day event, which included written and physical competitions testing their knowledge and skills. Students and law enforcement professionals competed in events involving firearms, physical agility, crime scene investigations, and written competitions in five disciplines. The theme for this year’s Conference was, "CSI: TV vs. REALITY."

Northwestern College’s Zeta Sigma Alpha Chapter (the “Criminal Justice Club”) and their Chapter Advisor Mark Mitchell (a Northwestern College Assistant Professor and retired Lieutenant of the Palos Hills Police Department) served as hosts of the annual conference. They registered and welcomed each student and professional, proctored tests, managed the physical agility course and timings, and provided food and maps to all of the weekend’s participants as they were hustled to multiple locations in the south suburban region.

The competition is divided into three divisions: Professional, Upper and Lower. Students compete in one of two divisions based on their academic level, including the Upper Division (juniors and seniors) and the Lower Division (freshmen and sophomores). Professionals are considered anyone who is working on an advanced degree, has an advanced degree or who works or has worked in a law enforcement position.

In addition to Northwestern College, some of the schools that competed were Herzing College, Kenosha, WI; Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee, WI; Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL; Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN; Trine University, Angola, IN; and Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN.

A brief summary of the Regional Conference competitions is as follows:

Firearms. A total of 51 students and law enforcement professionals were tested on their firearm skills at the Blue Island Police Department’s Firing Range. Police professionals from the police departments of Palos Hills, Chicago Ridge, Brookfield, and Amtrak volunteered along with Northwestern College instructors as range masters and safety administrators.

Physical Agility. A total of 66 students competed in the physical agility competition which consisted of an obstacle course set up at Commissioners’ Park in Burbank. The event utilized the park equipment as well as included maneuvering through a series of tires, dragging life-sized bodies across terrain and sprinting to a finish line while competing against the clock.

Crime Scene. Here, 27 teams of 3 students each analyzed a crime scene created by Instructor Mark Mitchell and Sergeant Heather Poerio of the Illinois State Police. The scenario involved a sexual assault at a hotel whereby students investigated the scene, questioned witnesses, collected evidence and prepared reports.

Written Exams. A total of 343 written tests were administered in the following academic disciplines: police operations, criminal law, corrections, juvenile justice, and Lambda Alpha Epsilon history.

During the course of the three day competition, students also had the opportunity to visit several law enforcement sites including the Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago; the Illinois Department of Corrections - Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet; the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago; and the Chicago Police Academy. The weekend concluded with an Awards Banquet at Hibachi Grill/Sushi Buffet City in Oak Lawn.

About Northwestern College: Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, http://www.ncahlc.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available with campuses in Chicago and Bridgeview, in addition to NC Online. More information can be found at www.northwesterncollege.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.