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Source: Ronnie Hernandez,
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-2535,

Friday, Oct. 1, 2010


MANHATTAN -- The Kansas State University Criminology Club will host two presentations from prominent members of the Kansas criminal justice system in October.

Robert Blecha, director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, will present a lecture at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the Cottonwood Room at the K-State Student Union. Charles Simmons, deputy secretary for facilities management at the Kansas Department of Corrections, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in 213 Union. Both events are free and open to the public, but seating reservations are requested to ensure all can be accommodated.

According to Ronnie Hernandez, criminology club president and senior in criminology at K-State, this will be the first time in the club's history to have such notable guest speakers present discussions on the importance of the criminal justice system.

"The public is able to ask questions at the end of the speakers' presentations and gain a more in-depth perspective of their work," he said. "Furthermore, it allows our student membership to gain a better understanding of their criminology major and the opportunities available to them once they graduate."

A Belleville native, Blecha has extensive experience in the criminal justice system. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he was elected sheriff of Republic County at the age of 23, making him the youngest sheriff in the nation at the time. He was re-elected five times to the office. He has worked his way up within the justice system over the years, and was appointed director of the KBI in 2007. Blecha' s presentation will focus on the role of the KBI within the criminal justice system.

A K-State alumnus, Simmons has served 32 years in the Kansas Department of Corrections in various capacities, including as staff attorney, chief legal counsel, secretary of corrections and warden for the El Dorado Correctional Facility. He has served the last seven years in his current role as deputy secretary for facilities management, overseeing the state's eight correctional facilities. His presentation will discuss the Kansas Department of Corrections and its importance in the criminal justice system.

To reserve a seat at the presentations, please visit