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Lambda Alpha Epsilon: MU SIGMA Mansfield University

History of LAE

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THE HISTORY OF THE

AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATION—

LAMBDA ALPHA EPSILON

Background and Development

      During the first three decades of the twentieth century, law enforcement in the western United States was simple and extremely rudimentary by comparison with today’s high tech standards. The ability to do a “cop’s job” relied heavily on physical brawn to maintain the peace and a degree of political connections to maintain one’s job. Ethics and standards varied between states and political subdivisions if, indeed, heed was paid to these virtues.

 

There was little formalized training of peace officers, and only in the 1920’s did any formalized U.S. governmental agencies begin to develop standards which might someday affect local police operations.

 

One of the most significant law enforcement officers in the early development of professional law enforcement in California was August Vollmer. Entering law enforcement by accident in Berkeley (California) in 1905 as "Marshal", Vollmer soon moved to the position of “Chief” in a rapidly growing University community. Utilizing resources of the University’s technical and behavioral scientists, he studied the criminal and his modus operandi, means of identifying physical characteristics, and other information. From these studies, he developed advanced methods of detection and apprehension of criminals by scientific and deductive investigative conclusions. Some of the by-products of several decades of experience were:

 

1.       A School of “Criminology” at the University of California at Berkeley;

2.       Specialized training and orientation of officers hired to be policemen, with motivation to move on and train others;

3.       Research, experimentation and evaluation of new methods of crime detection and investigation, with results promulgated to other jurisdictions that would accept and utilize them;

4.       The ultimate result was many former Berkeley-trained officers in college instructor positions, state agencies and other positions where "the Gospel according to August Vollmer" could be further spread and inspire others.

 

By mid-1930’s, a small nucleus of resources existed in California which promoted "vocational training" for police. Among these were the State Peace Officers Association and the State Advisory Committee on Peace Officer Training. These groups, in coordination with San Jose State College, obtained partial funding from the State Bureau of Trade and Industrial Training within the Department of Education to conduct a series of two-week summer sessions for selected law enforcement officers. Three such seminars were held in the summer of 1937 at San Jose. The official title was "California Technical Institute for Peace Officer Training".

 

Notes from the LAE founders identify the motivation of the initial participants:

 

"While some attended on orders and at the expense of their department, the majority of the men attending the school had demonstrated their sincere interest in training by attending on their own time and at their own expense. As each class terminated, the students realized their mutual interest in law enforcement training and the friendships they had built during the school were incentives to perpetuate their contacts with one another."

 

The Establishment of a Professional Fraternity

 

At one of the 1937 class graduation dinners Frank Gompert, Laboratory expert from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and an instructor at the school, was selected as temporary chairman of a group of graduates whose mission was to explore the feasibility of establishing a “brotherhood or fraternity” of commonly trained officers who could promulgate the learning they had acquired through their participation in the school. Earl Warren, District Attorney of Alameda County and Chairman of the Advisory Committee of Peace Officer Training (later Governor of California and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court), saw the proposed organization as a valuable contribution to peace officers in the state. He provided resources and facilities of his office as well as legal assistance to the study group.

 

Ten committee meetings were held over the next several months. The Organization Committee included Oscar J. Jahnsen, Lt. of Inspectors, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office; Inspector E.A. Steinmeyer, California Highway Patrol; J. M. Ritchie, Deputy Sheriff; Police Sergeants Claude Morelock (Bakersfield) and F.E. Macabee (Hayward); Sherwood Morrill, State Division of Criminal Identification; R.L. Drexel, San Jose State Police School; and Alton Fuller, Coordinator of Oakland Police Training School. A considerable number of graduates contributed to the planning and development of a Constitution and Bylaws.

 

The initial meeting of the Association was held on December 18, 1937 in Hayward. All students and instructors were invited to attend. Minutes of the first meeting show twenty-four persons in attendance, with the first order of business being to adopt the proposed Constitution. Modification was enacted which allowed Charter membership in Alpha Chapter of the Lambda Alpha Epsilon Fraternity open to:

 

"Graduates and Instructors of the First California Institute for Peace Officers Training during the summer of 1937 . . . who had achieved grades of B or better."

 

Officers elected included: Oscar Jahnsen, President; Frank Gompert, E.A. Steinmeyer, Walter Hawkinson (Oakland Police Department), Vice-Presidents; F. E. Macabee, Secretary; Guy Skelton, Treasurer; Vincent Spooner. Sergeant at Arms; and five members of an Executive Committee. The initiation fee of $10.00 paid dues through July 1939 and could be paid in three monthly installments! Regular meetings were held in the Bay Area following the inaugural meeting.

 

The first Annual Convention was held in Lodi, California June 13-15, 1938 with members present from all over California. In addition, numerous interested law enforcement executives attended, reflecting support and potential for expansion of membership beyond institute graduates. The membership elected Frank Gompert as the second President of Lambda Alpha Epsilon.

 

At the Convention, Lambda Alpha Epsilon Keys and Honorary Memberships were awarded to J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C.; August Vollmer, Professor of Police Administration, University of California, Berkeley; and Earl Warren, District Attorney of Alameda County and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the State Division of Criminal Investigation, for their contributions to the cause of law enforcement training.

 

Associate membership was also granted to several key local and state police officials. Honorary and Associate memberships furthered the concept of a professionally trained rank-and-file committed to training and mutual cooperation .

 

With the continuation of the Institute sessions in 1938 and 1939, more students became eligible for active membership in LAE and enthusiasm for membership activities was sustained.

 

The second Annual Convention was held in Oakland August 17 and 18, 1939 with Walter Hawkinson, Oakland Police Inspector, elected as the third President of LAE. During the ensuing year, the Technical Institute for Peace Officer Training was transferred to the Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) and Berkeley (U.C.B.) campuses of the University of California, and training activities expanded.

 

At the third Annual Convention, held in Bakersfield September 26 and 27,1940, James Ritchie, Alameda County Deputy Sheriff, was elected fourth President of the Fraternity. A group of members from Los Angeles petitioned to form a new Chapter. On April 25, 1941 Beta Chapter was established at Los Angeles with the Mayor, Chief of Police and Sheriff attending the ceremony, again, indicative of the high level of respect and support for the endeavor by public officials and police administrators.

 

The fourth Annual Convention in Santa Barbara on September 19 and 20, 1941 was a milestone in terms of the number of members attending from Alpha and Beta Chapters and interest from a broad sector of law enforcement officials. Many members were in the military or naval service. Robert C. Knight, Assistant Chief of Police, Bakersfield was elected fifth President of “Grand” Chapter. The fifth Annual Meeting was held in Oakland on September 1 and 12, 1942 with Sergeant Robert H. Morton, Modesto Police Department, designated as the sixth President of Grand Chapter. A significant number of members were absent due to active duty in the Armed Forces. Travel restrictions, wartime conditions, and emergency conditions limited attendance and participation at the sixth Annual Convention, where all existing officers were re-elected for an additional term.

 

At the seventh Annual Convention, on September 16, 1944, Thomas P. Hunter, Agent, U.S. Secret Service (and former police officer, Alameda and Berkeley Police Departments), was elected seventh President of Grand Chapter. Secretary Macabee, who had served since 1937, “retired” to enter private business and was replaced in that capacity by Jesse J. Jackson, Lt. of Inspectors, Oakland Police Department.

 

After eight years, Lambda Alpha Epsilon found its membership spread throughout the world, on the battlefields of Europe, Asia, Alaska and the South Pacific. In spite of law enforcement being “exempt” from the military draft, the training and expertise of peace officers was essential to the military and adjunct services in time of war. LAE Journals of the 1943-46 era are replete with stories of heroism of its members with messages of hope for the future from the war zones to the home front.

 

Those who remained at home were planning for the future. Fraternity committees developed curriculum suggestions for subjects to be included at in-service police schools within California departments, and at colleges within the state. Members were striving to uphold and support the stated aims and purposes of Lambda Alpha Epsilon.

 

Aims and Purposes of Lambda Alpha Epsilon

1.   To promote a greater fraternal relationship among graduates of technical and professional police schools.

2.   To promote higher standards of educational attainment among peace officers.

3.   To promote the institution of courses of police science by recognized colleges and universities.

4.   To promote research projects in the field of police science.

5.   To promote a better understanding by the public of the aims and ideals of peace officer organizations.

6.   To promote the selection of properly trained personnel for law enforcement positions.

7.   To promote standard modern methods in the field of law enforcement.

8.  To promote unity of action among law enforcement agencies

 

 

 

Those who served at home planned for the future. Changes were inevitable, and the limitation of membership needed to be broadened.

 

Post-World War II Expansion

 

With the return of “Veteran” LAE members from the military to their former jobs and the renewed interest in veterans with G.l. benefits seeking employment in law enforcement jobs, the role of LAE changed. Many of the Charter members were Vollmer-trained or influenced persons who were now moving into administrative roles of influence in the field. The emphasis on quality training and new methods of detection were generally accepted standards.

 

LAE opened its membership to any college graduate who was either employed full-time in a police agency or had completed at least thirty college units in police science or administration with a “B Average” or better. Between 1945 and 1950 subordinate chapters had been established in San Francisco (Delta Chapter), San Jose (Gamma) and Sacramento (Eta), with membership open only to full-time, sworn employees of law enforcement agencies or instructors in police training courses in state colleges.

 

Annual meetings were held with Grand Chapter functioning in a coordination and policy-making role between the five subordinate chapters.

Breaking the College and State Barriers

 

With the establishment, in 1950, of a professional School of Criminology at the University of California, Berkeley, the climate was right to expand membership to pre-service persons. The school was the ultimate goal of August Vollmer and the first Dean was Orlando W. Wilson, a former Berkeley police officer who had achieved notoriety as Chief of Police and Military Police Governor in postwar Berlin. Dean Wilson was a member of LAE.

 

When the petition for a new chapter was received at Grand Chapter, a long discussion ensued as to the feasibility of accepting non-sworn persons into LAE. The granting of the Charter to Epsilon Chapter broke two barriers: Student membership and the admission of" “Brother Barbara Feister”, Secretary and Criminology major, the first female member of LAE. The Chapter President was John Warner, who still maintains active membership as Deputy Director, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (Retired).

 

Permanent Grand Chapter Secretary Tom Hunter expressed his hope: "that admission of Epsilon Chapter to ‘Lambie Pie’ opens the membership to students with 15 or more college units in Criminology, to both men and women, with the hope that membership will commence at the pre-service phase of employment and continue through all levels of police service on to retirement."

 

What Tom Hunter did not envision was the expansion of the School of Criminology into not only Police Science, but also Corrections and Criminalistics. Within five years, Epsilon Chapter had contributed several hundred student members to various police, probation, parole, prison and specialized state agencies. The enthusiasm of college-trained entrants into the field, inspired by their employed professional “brothers” again renewed the interest of all levels in training in criminal justice.

 

1952 saw a petition received from the University of Indiana, Police Science Department. With the establishment of Zeta Chapter, membership was established beyond the State of California. “Provincial” thinking was expanded, thanks to the group affectionately known as “our corresponding chapter”.

 

1953 saw the establishment of a professional “Women’s Chapter” in Sacramento. Eta Chapter declined to break the sex barrier as a “Fraternity” but assisted in the establishment of Theta Chapter. Membership was opened initially to full-time sworn employees of law enforcement agencies with academic qualifications, or women enrolled in police science programs at Sacramento State College. It was later opened to “support” personnel with all other qualifications.

 

LAE first became “international” in 1953 when two visiting lecturers at the U.C. School of Criminology participated in Epsilon and Alpha activities over a nine-month period. On return to Britain, Sir Arthur Dixon, H.M. Inspector of Constabulary, and Col. C.E. St. Johnston, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary, not only had LAE membership, but became the hosts to many American visitors for several years following their sabbaticals.

 

In 1956, Bill Melnicoe was appointed Assistant Professor at Sacramento State University, Police Science Department. Melnicoe was a former Berkeley officer, graduate of U.C. Berkeley and member of both Alpha and Epsilon Chapters. As Chapter Advisor, he took steps to charter a Collegiate chapter at that institution. Iota Chapter became the catalyst for rapid expansion within the State Community Colleges in both California and throughout the country.

 

At the Annual Meeting on September 15, 1956, founding member Tom Hunter (permanent Secretary) ascended to the presidency of Grand Chapter for the second time. With him was the new generation of young professionals, in entry level jobs in police agencies, corrections and colleges. The old ideas were tempered with broader visions for the future. At the Annual Meeting in 1957, 200 members were challenged by speakers O.W. Wilson (Dean of Criminology) and Richard McGee (Director of Corrections, State of California) to expand the professional organization to encompass all facets of the criminal justice field.

 

Professor Melnicoe, under the guidance of Tom Hunter, began to systematically plan the expansion of LAE into existing Criminal Justice Programs in California and elsewhere through his association with Criminal Justice Educators’ Associations. During this phase, Tri Omega Chapter at Rio Honda College (1963) and Pi Kappa at Cerritos College (1961) gave a base and impetus to college-to-professional movement in Southern California. The recruitment of C. Alex Pantaleoni and Dick McGrath as Faculty Advisors resulted in strong, continuing chapters which repeated the Epsilon experience of introducing and recruiting many students who proceeded to enhance professional membership upon graduation and entry into law enforcement jobs in Southern California.

 

In 1958, Bill Melnicoe assumed the Presidency of Grand Chapter and worked tirelessly with Secretary Hunter to form a network of chapters in various locations from Florida, Washington, Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S.

 

In 1965, the first formal competitions took place at the Annual Meeting in Oakland. President Gene Luttrell, past member of Epsilon (1954) and Alpha chapters, presided at the first Awards Banquet, with trophies presented for Firearms, Accident Investigation and Crime Scene. Coordinator Melnicoe spoke to future competitions and the desire that, in the future, competition would be at a national level. At the Annual Meeting, new member Hubert Owsley was initiated as a professional member of LAE.

 

Also at that meeting, Past Presidents Lee Meyers (1961), Alex Pantaleoni (1963) Bill Melnicoe (1958-60 and 1967-69) and Tom Hunter (1944-45, 1956-58) were present together with future Presidents Dick McGrath (1966) and Hugh Owsley (1969-70) and 1974-75). Strong support was given to future activities by founding fathers and those who passed the torch as the Fraternity grew and developed. This was a pivotal and progressive session from which growth and progress mushroomed, both geographically and in changing directions which pointed to the present board, nationwide appeal and function.

 

The objectives and purposes of LAE were discussed and rewritten after many hours of argument and haggling. As stated by President McGrath in his message at the 1967 Annual Meeting:

 

"Each year LAE continues to grow in the number of chapters and total membership. Each year our expansion has taken us further from our California ‘home base’. We are truly a National organization, with nationwide impact on law enforcement education."

 

McGrath further affirmed the objective to “promote public understanding of the problems and objectives of the administration of justice” and challenged the membership to view the Fraternity as an unlimited horizon as to the opportunity to contribute to the profession and the communities we serve.

 

During the presidency of Hugh Owsley we saw the formalization of the Regional Concept (1974-75) and the change of the name from LAE to ACJA/LAE to reflect a national rather than “provincial” or local association.

 

Today’s American Criminal Justice Association/Lambda Alpha Epsilon shows in excess of 145 chapters throughout the 50 states, comprising over 4,500 members, including “at-large” membership throughout the world. Truly the ACJA has grown beyond the wildest dreams of the small group of "Founding Father's” who met in Hayward in December of 1937. The world has changed, a profession has emerged and each of us, over the years, by the joining of hands and acts of mutual cooperation and understanding, has helped to forge a better community.

 

LAE has served a valuable purpose over each of the decades of its existence: It is this writer’s hope that each future generation will be as successful in their own time as have been those of the past.

 

Onward and Upward with LAE!

 

By Eugene V. Luttrell

Past-President

 

 

 

 

 

A Quarter Century of Change

(The Rest of The Story)

This interpretation of ACJA/LAE history continues where Eugene V. Luttrell closed his excellent recount of LAE’s early years. These highlights of the past twenty-five years, or so, are events selected from the official records of the Association and from the author’s thirty years of notes, etc.

 

However, two historic “firsts” should be added to the earlier account. To attract more professionals to the LAE conferences, professional seminars were first presented during the October 4th, 5th, and 6th, 1963 Annual Conference of the Grand Chapter in Sacramento, California. Secondly, at the May 1965 Conference in Oakland, California, the “First Annual Law Enforcement Competitions” were organized and directed by Dick McGrath and included: Criminal Law and Procedure, Criminal Investigation, and Traffic Accident Investigation (LAE Journal, April 1965).

 

Reorganization

 

Gene Luttrell brought us to the beginning of the reorganization and the new constitution that would change the Professional Law Enforcement Fraternity and its power structure forever. Quite a few forward thinking people (such as Gene Luttrell, Ted Rankin, Dick McGrath, and other LAE leaders — many of which are discussed later) were involved in the deliberations: to reorganize or not — if reorganization, the form it should take.

 

After years of deliberation, on March 24, 1969, Dr. Ernie Kamm, Chairman of the Reorganization and Development Committee, published a Preliminary Report Dr. Kamm proposed that a permanent National Headquarters be established in Sacramento, California. He outlined the number and type of meetings that seemed appropriate. Division of LAE into nine regions was advocated. The election and terms of officers were also suggested. Voting procedures, organizational structure, and memberships were detailed. The authority for and the details of the transition were additionally described. The outstanding work of this committee provided the nucleus for the birth of the “modern” LAE. (Dr. Kamm was Chairman of the Police Science Department, California State University, Los Angeles.)

 

To finalize and operationalize the “new” LAE, Hugh Owsley was elected National President March 3, 1969. The following members were also elected to this historic Executive Board: Ernie Kamm was elected Vice President, Nell Hutchinson was elected Secretary-Treasurer, Anna Herkomer was elected Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, and Jim Allen was elected Sergeant-at-Arms. Addressing the reorganization, President Owsley’s plea was for unity to move ahead and for a divestiture of parochialism. Interim Vice-Presidents were appointed by the Executive Board for the five regions: Region 1, Al Nottingham (soon after replaced by Tom Sutak); Region 2, Ron Rogers; Region 3, Dave Couper; Region 4, Jim Hooker, and Region 5, Jim Merritt.

 

President Owsley also pushed for a broader concept for our organization —from a law enforcement fraternity to a criminal justice association. This philosophy was formed by the fact that Hugh had been an Oakland, California, police officer and (like Gene Luttrell before him) was a parole officer for the Department of Corrections when elected president of LAE. Hugh’s philosophy also caused him to strongly advocate professional ethics and greater cooperation between the professional members and the collegiate, preservice members.

 

The evolution of the “new” LAE continued at the 1970 National Conference in Anaheim, California. At the April 11, 1970, Business Meeting, decisions of particular relevance to LAE history were made. Alex Pantaleoni proposed a successful motion that the name be changed to Professional Criminal Justice Fraternity. Dick McGrath successfully argued against a motion to identify members either “professional” or “collegiate.” (This idea has been defeated several times in following years.) Alex Pantaleoni also advocated the consolidation of California into one region leaving Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico as region 2 — his motion carried.

 

In October 1970, President Owsley declared that “. . . we finally did it. Lambda Alpha Epsilon now has a legitimate set of Bylaws” (LAE Journal, October 15, 1970). A Special Annual Grand Chapter Meeting was held on September 26, 1970, in Oakland, California, to finalize the new Bylaws. Importantly, June Schott pointed to recommendations in Robert’s Rules that both a constitution and bylaws are not required when an organization is incorporated. A motion passed to combine the Constitution and Bylaws into one document to be called The By-Laws of Lambda Alpha Epsilon. The procedure for voting was also passed after much discussion, where each active chapter will have one vote with one additional vote for each forty members, and that these votes may be represented by proxies for all business of the organization.

 

Executive Secretary-Treasurer

 

Very important to the growth of the Association was that the new Bylaws adopted at this meeting provided for a part-time, paid staff for the National Office in Sacramento, California. On November 1, 1970, the first Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Loretta Brady was hired. The Association continued its phenomenal growth and it became impossible for a part-time person to keep up with the work. Mrs. Brady continued doing an excellent job in this increasingly difficult position for some ten years. Finally in November 1979, the Association was solvent enough to provide for a full-time person to handle this role. Commitments prevented Mrs. Brady from accepting the position. After a careful search, the first full-time Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Karen K. Campbell, was hired. Karen, her husband Fred, and various National Presidents developed the National Office into the professional, computerized National Headquarters it is today.

 

Continued Development

 

Convinced that many of his objectives for LAE were accomplished, Hugh Owsley announced at the 1971 National Conference in Reno, Nevada, that he would not run for reelection due to other commitments. At this May 13,1971, meeting Jim Hooker, Region 4 President, was elected the first National President without California ties. Additionally, the regions were realigned and Region 6 was added. President Owsley proudly reported that during his tenure the Association had grown from twenty-five active chapters in fifteen states to some seventy chapters in twenty-five states, with Region 4 growing the fastest with eleven new charters granted and nineteen inquiries received by the National Office.

 

The first National Conference held away from the California area (there had been one previous conference outside California in Reno, Nevada, in May 1971) was hosted by the then National President, Jim Hooker, and Sigma Delta Rho Chapter in York, Pennsylvania, in April 1973.

 

LAE Name Changes

 

The name of the organization also experienced changes during this period of time. At the Annual Grand Chapter Business Meeting (April 11, 1970) in Anaheim, California, Alex Pantaleoni moved that the name be changed from Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Professional Law Enforcement Fraternity to Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Professional Criminal Justice Fraternity — the motion passed. In the February 1973 LAE Journal (page 18), Hugh Owsley proposed that the name be changed to Lambda Alpha Epsilon – American Criminal Justice Association.  The name  was adopted as the “official” name later in the year.  In 1976, the name was reversed to read “American Criminal Justice Association – Lambda Alpha Epsilon.”  Through a Bylaws proposal in 1980, the general membership voted that it shall take a 90% vote of the general membership to change the Association’s name.

 

LAE Journal

 

The evolution of the National Journal is the final issue to be addressed here. The records reveal that various members served as Journal Editors until about 1960. In 1960, Vivian E. Dudgeon, a member of Theta Chapter in Sacramento, California, became Journal Editor and poured her heart and soul into the LAE Journal for over a decade. She typed, published and mailed the, usually, monthly journals during this period, which were significant to the continued growth of LAE. LAE owed this great lady a tremendous debt of gratitude at the time of her death, June 4, 1972.

 

“Smiling” Jack Perry, a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer who had a print shop in his basement accepted the position as LAE Journal Editor at considerable personal expense in 1973. Smiling Jack wanted the Journal (always a large expense) to at least pay for itself by publishing advertising in each issue. To provide a Journal that would be of interest to advertisers, Editor Perry produced an excellent Journal that was a blend of the traditional news of the Association with pertinent criminal justice information and articles relevant to the members of ACJA/LAE. Hugh Owsley, on several occasions, and Paul Ricks (see particularly, Executive Memorandum, July 25, 1985) were also strong advocates of printing appropriate advertising in the LAE Journal, but the issue has been voted down each time it has been proposed.

 

In 1976, under National President John P. J. Dussich, the LAE Journal took on a new look. The new Journal became a series of good quality criminological articles, but it carried no news of the Association. Richie Tidwell, the first Editor, and subsequently, Dr. Ira J. Silverman found it very expensive and time consuming to produce such a Journal and – in the opinion of many members — it still did not satisfy the needs of the Association.

 

A new President, Richard Coughlin, appointed Jim Hooker to be Newsletter Editor in 1981 to share ACJA/LAE news with our membership. In 1982, Jim Hooker was appointed LAE Journal Editor and charged to return the Journal to its mission of informing the membership of relevant news of the Association as well as to publish criminal justice articles of interest to professional and pre-professional members. At the same time, the name was changed back to its historic title, The LAE Journal.

 

In 1987, Fred Campbell became Editor of the LAE Journal. Fred brought considerable talent and a staff to the publication of the Journal. It is currently an excellent blend of news of the Association, professional criminal justice articles, and high quality papers written by LAE members. Measured by any standards, it is a top quality, professional Journal.

 

Epilog

 

Where are we today?  We have an excellent organization, a knowledgeable Executive Board, an excellent Executive Secretary, and a top-of-the-line LAE Journal. The Association continues to grow in number of chapters and members. This brings thoughts of something Eugene V. Luttrell wrote as National President:

 

MEMBERSHIP:  Over the past five years we have seen unprecedented growth in the pre-service chapters primarily at the Junior and State College levels. Marked by its absence has been the matriculation of membership from the academic to professional chapters. This fault lies with the lack of orientation by Faculty Advisors and officers toward the new members as to the purpose of L.A.E. in the professional life and development of individual members. Too often LAE., at the college level, is seen as a “college club" rather than an internship that bears fruition once the student completes his (or her) academic endeavors and becomes directly involved as "working-personnel,” when the fraternal spirit can aid to further develop the professionalization of his (or her) chosen field. Membership in such an organization may well have greater value to the individual at the working level than as a pre-service member. Faculty advisors should take an active role in professional chapters following graduation. This should be the lifeblood of the fraternity membership: the development of future L.A.E.. leaders from the ranks of student members (LAE Journal, July 1965, pages 16 & 17).

 

Each President since (and probably before) Gene Luttrell has voiced similar concerns. Our roots lie with the professional members yet retention of members after they become professionals remains a weakness. Experience teaches that many criminal justice students join ACJA-LAE because it is a professional organization (and it also looks good on their resumes). A student member who goes into an interview for a job proudly wearing their LAE pin might well expect the interviewer to react with a big smile and to exclaim, “LAE—I used to belong to LAE when I was in college!” ACJA/LAE has much to offer to criminal justice professionals and pre-professionals alike and yet we lose many members each year. The growth (or lack thereof in the number of professional members and professional chapters is predicted to dictate the future history of this great organization. There is much we can do; however, that is another subject for another time.

 

In Closing

 

ACJA/LAE has continued to grow since our “nationalization”. The Association holds a National Conference every year with excellent workshops and speakers; competitions including corrections, criminal law, juvenile law, physical agility, and crime scene investigation; and a National Pistol Match. The Association also offers and awards scholarships each year to our members who wish to apply for them.  The LAE Journal and the National Newsletter are the “official” publications of the Association.

 

The Association will continue to grow in size and stature in the years to come and members will be more and more aware of the “impact” of their membership in the Association in achieving their academic and professional goals.

 

By Jim Hooker

Past-President