Criminal Justice Excels at ACJA-LAE Conference

Students, alumni and faculty bring home 15 first place awards

The American Criminal Justice Association-Lambda Alpha Epsilon (ACJA-LAE) Region 6 Conference took place October 18–21, 2018, in Gurnee, Illinois. Faculty, students and alumni from the Criminal Justice program at Inver Hills Community College competed across a range of events at the conference, taking home 22 top-three awards, five team awards and three special awards. The competitors were not only representing Inver Hills, but also the college’s Beta Sigma Omega Lambda (BSOL) chapter of the ACJA.

“The purpose of our BSOL chapter is to provide criminal justice forums, job fairs and community service as well as raise awareness about criminal justice careers and academic programs,” said Leslie Palmer, PhD, criminal justice faculty at the college, who took home six first place awards at the conference. “By competing successfully at ACJA events, our chapter is also showcasing the benefits of our Criminal Justice program.”

Inver Hills competitors at the conference included:

Criminal Justice faculty
  • Leslie Palmer, PhD
Criminal Justice alumni
  • Ed Hemmelman
  • Jameson Ryskoski
Criminal Justice students
  • Ashley Burk
  • James Volk
  • Trevor Landkammer
  • Jackson Foss
  • Kelly Glagavs
  • Brandon Mills
  • Thomas Barth
  • Chris Karl
Criminal Justice PSEO student
  • Tahlia Kotulski


ACJA-LAE Region 6 Conference

Inver Hills Criminal Justice results

Individual awards

James Volk (student)

Police Management Exam (Lower Level): 2nd place
ACJA/LAE Knowledge Exam (Lower Level): 3rd place

Brandon Mills (student)

Police Management Exam (Lower Level): 3rd place

Kelly Glagavs (student)

ACJA/LAE Knowledge Exam (Lower Level): 1st place
Corrections Exam (Lower Level): 3rd place

Thomas Barth (student)

Physical Agility Competition (Males, Age 25 and under): 3rd place

Jackson Foss (student)

Physical Agility Competition (Males, Age 25 and under): 1st place

Chris Karl (student)

Physical Agility Competition (Males, Age 26-35): 1st place

Ashley Burk (student)

ACJA/LAE Knowledge Exam (Upper Level): 2nd place

Trevor Landkammer (student)

ACJA/LAE Knowledge Exam (Upper Level): 1st place
Criminal Law Exam (Upper Level): 1st place
Corrections Exam (Upper Level): 2nd place
Juvenile Justice Exam (Upper Level): 2nd place

Ed Hemmelman (alumni)

Firearms Competition (Professional Level): 1st place
Juvenile Justice Exam (Professional Level): 2nd place
Criminal Law Exam (Professional Level): 2nd place

Leslie Palmer (instructor/advisor)

Criminal Law Exam (Professional Level): 1st place
Juvenile Justice Exam (Professional Level): 1st place
Police Management Exam (Professional Level): 1st place
Corrections Exam (Professional Level): 1st place
ACJA/LAE Knowledge Exam (Professional Level): 1st place
Physical Agility Competition (Females, Age 36+): 1st place

Team awards

Crime Scene Investigation (Upper Level): 1st place

Ashley Burk, Kelly Glagavs and Chris Karl (students)

Crime Scene Investigation (Professional Level): 1st place

Leslie Palmer (instructor/advisor), Ed Hemmelman (alumni) and Trevor Landkammer (Upper)

Crime Scene Investigation (Professional Level): 3rd place

Jameson Ryskoski (alumni) and James Volk (Lower)

Firearms Team Competition (Professional Level): 1st place

Ed Hemmelman (alumni), Jameson Ryskoski (alumni) and Jackson Foss (Lower)

Firearms Team Competition (Lower Level): 2nd place

Thomas Barth, James Volk and Chris Karl (students)

Special awards

Top Gun Award

Ed Hemmelman (alumni)

Top Academic Award

Leslie Palmer (instructor/advisor)

Sweeps Award

Leslie Palmer (instructor/advisor)
Ed Hemmelman and Jameson Ryskoski (alumni)
Trevor Landkammer, Kelly Glagavs, Ashley Burk, James Volk, Brandon Mills, Thomas Barth, Jackson Foss and Chris Karl (students)

Criminal Justice Faculty: Leslie Palmer, PhD • Q & A

Leslie Palmer, PhD
Leslie Palmer began teaching at Inver Hills in 2012. Leslie has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Service Leadership with a Criminal Justice Specialization and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice from Capella University as well as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Criminal Justice and Corrections from St. Cloud State University. She is the current ACJA-LAE Region 6 vice president. She also serves as the college’s faculty advisor for the Beta Sigma Omega Lambda (BSOL) chapter of the ACJA.

What is the one thing every Criminal Justice student should know?
The world of criminal justice is huge! There are so many different career options within criminal justice. Be open to exploring all of the various options before settling on one particular career.

What advice would you give students thinking about earning the Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway A.S. degree?
You can never go wrong with more education! The Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway allows students to easily transfer to one of our four-year partner institutions. The pathway provides students with as many two-year classes as possible, minimizing the number of classes they need to take in their third and fourth year as bachelor’s degree students.

How does the Corrections certificate prepare students for careers in the corrections field?
Law Enforcement has a separate degree; however, Corrections does not. Adding the Corrections certificate to the Criminal Justice degree allows students to show that they are specializing in that career field. The Corrections certificate can be taken as a stand-alone certificate as well, giving students specialized training/education in that growing profession!

What benefits do students receive from participating in BSOL?
Aside from being a great addition to a resume, BSOL allows students to network with other students interested in criminal justice and also professionals working in the field. Involvement in BSOL allows students to work on skills beyond the classroom and to get comfortable dealing with situations they may experience while on the job. BSOL students assist each other with academics, career and skills development, networking, and volunteer and job opportunities.

For more photos, visit:

BSOL at Inver Hills on Flickr

Alumnus Spotlight: Ed Hemmelman

Ed Hemmelman, 24, graduated from the Criminal Justice program in 2015 with an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree. Ed continued his education at Concordia University, St. Paul, earning his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Criminal Justice in 2017. Today, Ed works as an assistant juvenile probation officer at the Dakota County Juvenile Services Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

While at Inver Hills, Ed served as president of the BSOL chapter. His commitment to BSOL led him to compete successfully at the ACJA National Conference in 2016 and Region 6 Conference in 2015. At this year’s regional conference, Ed brought home the Top Gun Award along with first place awards in the Firearms Competition (Professional Level) and Firearms Team Competition (Professional Level). He took second in the Juvenile Justice Exam (Professional Level) and Criminal Law Exam (Professional Level).

Originally from South St. Paul, Minnesota, Ed graduated from South St. Paul Secondary in 2012. When he’s not on the job at the Juvenile Services Center, Ed enjoys going to the shooting range with his CZ Shadow 9mm handgun—he’s a competitive target shooter. He also enjoys downhill skiing, fishing for rainbow and brown trout, and watching NFL football.

Ed was married this past June. His wife, Anna, is a substitute teacher for South St. Paul Schools; she also works as a dog sitter. Ed and Anna reside in Inver Grove Heights.

About the Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway A.S.

The Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway Associate of Science (A.S.) degree is a course of study designed to prepare you for a career in corrections, security and law enforcement. This Transfer Pathway offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an A.S. degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated criminal justice bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities.

The curriculum has been specifically designed so that students completing the pathway degree and transferring to one of the seven Minnesota State Universities enter the university with junior-year status. All courses in the Transfer Pathway A.S. degree will directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field. Learn more…


Ed Hemmelman Q & A

How has your continued involvement on campus benefited your career prospects after college?
BSOL is a nationally recognized organization and I’ve made friends and professional connections across the country through the group, including Texas, Missouri, California, Illinois and Kentucky.

Why is it important for you to give back to Inver’s BSOL chapter?
We didn’t have alumni connections when I was a student and serving as president of BSOL. I’m happy to help current students in the chapter compete at the national and regional levels.

What advice would you give current Criminal Justice students as they explore their career options?
Be patient and open-minded about your career choices and you’ll find a criminal justice field that you love. I originally wanted to be a cop, but then I discovered I have a passion for corrections.

What is your criminal justice philosophy?
Approach your work using multiple techniques. One size doesn’t fit all.

Three words that describe you as a criminal justice professional:

What do you like best about your job as an assistant juvenile probation officer?
The success stories—I work with youth ages 12–18 and my goal is to make sure they function in society and follow basic standards. One way to do that is seeing that they don’t fall back into the same group.

What are your most important responsibilities on the job?
Safety and security for the kids and staff is my number one concern.

What is one thing every probation officer should know?
Not every story will be a success. There will be some hardship involved.

What do you consider your toughest challenge in life?
Education as a whole. I didn’t do all that well in high school, but I took off once I discovered criminal justice in college. I graduated from Inver Hills with honors and had a 3.8 GPA at Concordia.

Your greatest accomplishment so far?
Getting my education. I was the 2015 Criminal Justice Student of the Year at Inver.

Your highest goal?
Buy some land and raise a family with my wife, Anna.

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Learn more about Criminal Justice at Inver Hills by contacting:

Leslie Palmer, PhD
Criminal Justice Faculty
Admissions Team
College Center

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