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Criminal Justice


Two major student organizations operate within the Department of Criminal Justice: Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Phi Sigma. Discussed in turn below, each organization is designed to promote and facilitate academic excellence and campus and community involvement.

Lambda Alpha Epsilon

The purpose of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the American Criminal Justice Association, is to provide undergraduate students with the academic and occupational resources needed to be successful in the various aspects of the criminal justice field. LAE aims to:

  • Improve criminal justice through educational activities;
  • Foster professionalism in law enforcement personnel and agencies;
  • Promote professional, academic, and public awareness of criminal justice issues;
  • Encourage the establishment and expansion of higher education and professional training in CJ;
  • Provide a unified voice for professionals in, and students of, CJ; and
  • Promote high standards of ethical conduct, professional training, and higher education within the CJ field.


During the first three decades of the 20th 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 1920s 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.

Membership Entitlements:

As a member of the American Criminal Justice Association-Lambda Alpha Epsilon, you are entitled to several benefits. The Entitlements the Association offers are granted to each individual member or earned through competitive activities. These entitlements include: (1) membership certificate; (2) membership card ; (3) membership pin; (4) ACJS-LAE stick; and (5) National journals and newsletters; access to CJ employment opportunities.

How to Become a Member:

Membership in the Association is composed of individuals employed in the criminal justice system or taking a course of study in criminal justice at an accredited college or university at the time the application is submitted. If you qualify for membership and wish to become a member-at-large, please complete the Membership Application and return the Application with your $36 initiation fee to the National Office. Contact Professor Alan Fix for further information.


Alpha Phi Sigma

Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, is devoted to recognizing and promoting high academic achievement in the discipline of criminal justice. The Charleston Southern chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma aims to provide a nurturing environment, one that encourages further educational achievement and occupational advancement among criminal justice students. Alpha Phi Sigma is the only Criminal Justice Honor Society that is both a certified member of The Association of College Honor Societies and is affiliated with the international  Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Eligibility Requirements:

Alpha Phi Sigma is open to all qualified criminal justice undergraduate and graduate students. 

To be eligible at the undergraduate-level, at the time of application submission, a respective student must have: (1) declared criminal justice as a major or minor; (2) possessed a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2; (3) possessed a minimum GPA of 3.2 in the CJ major; (4) ranked in the top 35% of their class; and (5) successfully completed at least 4 criminal justice courses at the undergraduate-level.

To be eligible at the graduate-level, CJ graduate students, at the time of application submission, must: (1) possess a minimum GPA of 3.4, or rank in the top 25% of their class; and (2) have successfully completed at least 4 criminal justice courses. Three of these 4 courses can be criminal justice courses completed at the undergraduate-level if the student earned a 3.4 GPA or higher in those 3 courses.

For More Information:

If you would like more information about APS, or you are interested in applying for membership, please contact Dr. Rebecca Howell, the APS Faculty Advisor at Charleston Southern University. The Alpha Phi Sigma website also contains a wealth of information about membership, employment resources and available scholarships.