The 17th Annual West Virginia Criminal Justice Educators’ Association (WVCJEA) Conference meets for the first time at West Liberty University, Oct. 24 and 25. An annual crime scene and research paper competition for students, the conference is open to all colleges and universities in the state that have a criminal justice major.

Dr. Keith Bell

Dr. Keith Bell

The two-day competition begins with a dramatization of a crime scene at the Highlands Campus, from 3 – 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24. (Room 209 and 210)

Teams from Fairmont State, Glenville State, Marshall University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State and Wheeling Jesuit University are taking part in the competition. Fourteen teams in all are presenting on day two of the conference and topics will include crime scene presentations along with original criminal justice research.

“We are pleased to welcome the conference to the Hilltop for the first time this fall and look forward to the opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Keith Bell, criminal justice professor and conference program chairman.

“Last year was the first time we sent one of our criminal justice majors, Kathleen Butcher, to the conference and she won the research paper competition. It’s a great experience for students,” Bell noted, adding that Butcher is now in law school.

Day two will begin with registration and a welcome address, held in Boyle Conference Center, located in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC). This is followed by concurrent panel presentations held on the ground floor of Elbin Library.

Honored guests at this year’s conference include Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler and Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger. Schwertfeger is a graduate of West Liberty University’s criminal justice program. Butler and Schwertfeger will take part in a panel that meets at 10:55 a.m., on day two of the conference.

Day two of the conference also concludes with a 1:30 p.m. presentation by the Ohio Valley Cold Case Task Force led by Fred Connors. This presentation is open to the public and takes place in Elbin Library, room L-16.

The conference will end at 3 p.m. with closing remarks and presentation of awards, also held in Boyle Conference Center.

Established in 1992, WVCJEA promotes the exchange of educational ideas and coursework among higher learning institutions and criminal justice training groups in West Virginia. For more information on the WVCJEA conference, please contact Bell at 304-336-8376 or visit WLU’s criminal justice webpage.