Lackawanna College Police Academy Plans Move, Expansion

SCRANTON -- The Lackawanna College Police Academy in Scranton will celebrate 40 years this week. Its instructors think the academy's location needs to get with the times.

The academy's director unveiled plans for two new facilities on Tuesday.

The police academy currently occupies the fifth floor of a dormitory at Lackawanna College. The academy's director says the place doesn't provide the room needed for new types of police training.

One of the two classrooms at the Lackawanna College Police Academy in Scranton is filled with prize baskets and posters that picture the academy's future.

The school for aspiring police officers is organizing a fundraiser and capital campaign to help make this a reality.

Plans are to move the academy to a floor of the former Scranton Center in the city's downtown, giving cadets 10 times more space.

The academy is also looking for land to build a shooting range and driving practice facility.

"In the last several years, we've really expanded our training of our cadets and also training of law enforcement, for continuing law enforcement, so there are a lot of different courses that we're offering and a lot of them are tactical, hands-on, practical, especially to deal with the challenges law enforcement is facing in the current day and age," said Mary Ann Grippo.

Right now, there's not room for that kind of hands-on training. The academy has to stagger student schedules since there are only two available classrooms.

"It's only going to do good if they have more opportunities to do more role playing and things like that, where it's almost like you're already out there," said cadet Patrick Van Wie.

Lackawanna College attracts police cadets from all over Pennsylvania as well as New York and New Jersey. Instructors say making it state of the art will only attract more students.

"If you look at the training facilities that we have in the state to train municipal police officers, you know, we are pretty much the only game in town. So, the fact that we're able to provide that service and to provide a quality of training to make the officer the best equipped to hit the streets, I mean, that's a great advantage," said Ken Zipovsky, Lackawanna College Police Academy.

Officials at the Lackawanna College Police Academy don't know exactly how much the expansion and new facilities will cost. They are kicking off a capital campaign Wednesday night with a fundraiser in Dunmore.