The Alpha Phi Sigma society at the University of Guelph-Humber attended a three-day conference in New Orleans, La. from Feb. 15 to 17 to learn more about the criminal justice field from researchers themselves.

The conference, held annually in different cities across the United States, is hosted by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), a research oriented society alongside Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), an international honours society in Canada and the United States.

The conference allows students and staff alike to take the theoretical knowledge from the classroom and see it presented at the conference by the authors themselves and network with other APS societies in North America.

Invitation to the conference is exclusive to those who apply themselves in the field and demonstrate leadership and academic achievement. For Guelph-Humber, it meant taking the society’s executives- from it’s chapters- to CSI Maryland competition trainers.

Guelph-Humber received the invitation last year by connections that were made from the CSI competitions. Glenn Hanna, assistant program head of justice studies at Guelph-Humber and the organizer of the trip says, “Alpha Phi Sigma is not a fraternity or a sorority. It gives the students networking opportunities and opens doors for them.”

Hanna also says that the team wasn’t training for the conference like they do for the CSI competitions, but instead were, “throwing their hats into the ring.”

This year’s conference hosted a wide range of topics. One of the topics was presented by University of Toronto professor Judith Andersen, called, “Policing: analyzing use of force incidents.” This topic pertains particularly to the field of policing and the problems that exercising excessive force brings.

This panel was the highlight of the conference for Alex Corfield, president of the APS society at Guelph-Humber, because he wants to go into policing. For him, the conference was about representing the university and exploring the various paths you can take with the criminal justice field through the conference.

“Going on a trip like this lets you challenge yourself as a student. We all could pursue our interests with the various presentations they had,” says Corfield.

The conference also hosted a small Crime Scene Investigation competition where chapters were able to participate in solving a murder mystery. Unlike the CSI Maryland competitions-where CSI teams train for months to compete in solving a crime scene investigation-the chapters got a small taste of the practical field experience of criminal justice.

Emma Kelley, one of the trainers of the CSI Maryland teams at Guelph-Humber says that the conference is, “a great way to build connections with other chapters and have a deeper undertaking of learning from the classroom.”

Kelley also won a scholarship at the conference, being presented with $1500 USD for a three to five page paper on the future of APS societies and the benefits they have on students.

Guelph-Humber is one of the two Canadian chapters that were at the conference, the other from Nipissing University.

The next conference will take place in Baltimore, Maryland from March 27 to 29, 2019.