Lackawanna College Police Academy Scranton Class Graduates

Their hard work, dedication and commitment paid off.

“We are proud to have trained generations of law enforcement since the inception of our program,” said Lackawanna College President Dr. Jill Murray. “Our graduates get their training at Lackawanna College, find jobs in their hometowns or stay regionally and are well prepared to serve their local communities. These fine men and women are an example of how Lackawanna College is continuing its tradition of preparing quality graduates for careers in law enforcement.”

Twenty-seven cadets recently graduated as part of Lackawanna College’s Police Academy Scranton Class 257, becoming the newest members of law enforcement.

All graduates have either obtained or have been offered full-time employment.

“Lackawanna College’s Police Academy helps fill the need for quality municipal law enforcement officers in our area,” said Kevin Mahoney, Director of Academy Operations. “There is currently a shortage of police officers not only statewide but nationwide. Lackawanna College’s Police Academy is known for its rigorous training program and those who graduate are among the finest in law enforcement.”

To be eligible to join the Academy, cadets must undergo an interview with Academy staff, a psychological test, a pre-entrance physical test and other testing requirements. Once accepted, cadets then begin their classroom training.

“We have nearly 1,000 hours of training that includes academic training, physical training, firearms training and scenario training. It takes a special individual to complete this course,” Mahoney told the graduates and their families at the graduation ceremony in Scranton. “We have such a unique and diverse cadre of instructors. We have active and retired law enforcement from federal, state, county and local agencies. They all bring a level of expertise and experience that really makes our program second to none.”

Mahoney thanked the family and friends of the cadets for their support as their loved ones went through the program.

Dominick DeNaples, former member of the Lackawanna College Board of Trustees, performed the cadet inspection at graduation. During his post inspection address, he told the cadets they are an elite group of men and women who will now be role models.

“Class, the certification you get today does not come alone,” DeNaples said. “It takes a certain additional responsibility on your part. All of the sudden you are going to be somewhat of a role model. You’re going to be looked up to by your friends, your neighbors, your family and more importantly the youth and the children you come in contact with.”

Besides DeNaples, other dignitaries participated in the ceremony. They included Deacon Donald Crane, deputy chief, Wilkes-Barre Police Department 9retiured), who performed the invocation; Lt. Seth Kelly, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M, Bethlehem, IACP Trooper of the Year 2017; and Dick McLane, who played the bagpipes.

Class 257 also selected Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Branden T. Sisca as their Fallen Officer Tribute. A drunk driver struck and killed Sisca and Trooper Martin Mack at 1 a.m. on March 21, 2022 on southbound Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.

Sisca had served with the Pennsylvania State Police for 13 months and was assigned to Troop K. He is survived by his wife, Brittany, and daughter, Brynn Tyler Sisca.

The following are the graduates of Class of 257:

  • Celia Bond, Lords Valley
  • Shawna Bower, Edwardsville
  • James Brown, Moosic
  • Matthew Brunetti, Clarks Summit
  • Benjamin Busko, Selinsgrove
  • James Coslett, Kingston
  • Robert Farris, E. Stroudsburg
  • Preston Gehring, Schuylkill Haven
  • Patrick Gill, Bloomsburg
  • Matthew Grippo, Scranton
  • Isaiah Guerrero, Riverton, NJ
  • Peter Gutowski, Jr., Roaring Brook Twp.
  • Jakob Kerby, Pottsville
  • Benjamin Kreuzer, Mountain Top
  • Kade McNally, Easton
  • David Nicholetta, East Stroudsburg
  • Brian David Nolan II, Archbald
  • Scott Roper, Mountain Top
  • Justin Royce, Moosic
  • Stacie Sala, Pen Argyl
  • Morgan Schaszberger, Monroe Twp
  • Lucas Schultz, Clarks Summit
  • Jared Simon, Nicholson
  • Christopher Taylor, Waymart
  • Mia Vieira, Scranton
  • Jacob Williams, Exeter
  • Brandon Winn, Duryea

Lackawanna College Police Academy Hosts Inaugural Roundtable Event

The Lackawanna College Police Academy hosted its inaugural roundtable event at the College’s Hazleton Center on March 1, 2022. The roundtable invited leaders in local law enforcement to share ideas, concerns and recommendations on top issues currently facing law enforcement.
During the event moderator Kevin Mahoney, Assistant Director of Academy Operations for Lackawanna College and roundtable panelist discussed hiring efforts, the difficulty in attracting qualified candidates and creative practices that departments used to recruit and retain law enforcement officers.

“Law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation are in the middle of a recruitment and retention crisis,” said John Chilleri, Lackawanna College Director of Academy Operations. “It’s increasingly difficult to attract qualified applicants to the profession. This event provided a forum to discuss issues and offer creative ideas to help police departments in their recruitment efforts.”

Chilleri provided opening remarks and introduced the panelists and was joined for the roundtable by: Guy Salerno- Chief of Blakely Police Department Joseph Coffay- Chief of Wilkes-Barre Police Department Brian Schoonmaker – Chief of Hazleton Police Department Lt. Richard Nesbitt – Commander of Recruitment Services, Pennsylvania State Police

Founded in 1894, Lackawanna College is a private, accredited college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With the main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, Sunbury, Towanda, Tunkhannock and the Environmental Education Center in Covington Township. Learn more at

Lackawanna College Police Academy Receives Donation

Lackawanna College staff, along with the family of the late Andrew J. Jones, accept a $7,700 donation from Valley Aviation to the Andrew J. Jones memorial fund. Andrew J. Jones, “AJ” is a 2018 alumnus of the Hazleton Police Academy’s 240th class who passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in 2019. Jones served as a full-time officer for the Swoyersville Police Department and as a part-time officer for the Exeter Police Department.

Lackawanna College Police Academy Graduates Sponsored Police Academy Cadets

Ten cadets graduated from the Lackawanna College Police Academy on Dec. 2, ready to begin careers in law enforcement with the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre police departments.

The newest group of cadets make up the 255th graduating cadet class and are part of a partially funded program by the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC). Municipalities are eligible for partial reimbursement if they hire a cadet prior to the start of an Academy training program.

“The Academy staff and administration are proud of the graduates of class 255,” said John Chilleri, Director of the Lackawanna College Police Academy. “This is the first class where all cadets were hired as full-time officers by a municipality prior to the start of the program.”

The partnership between the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre police departments, MPOETC, and Lackawanna College to train cadets is an example of the commitment the College has made to meet the needs of law enforcement in NEPA.

“We are very excited to have our four officers fully trained and certified,” Chief Joseph Coffay of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department said. “They will be an added asset to the department and I am sure they are happy to finish their academic requirements and are happy to begin their career serving the citizens of Wilkes-Barre.”

Thanks to an Act 89 annual grant of $5 million authorized in 2019, the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Police Departments are eligible for partial reimbursement by MPOETC after cadets complete the program. MPOETC will reimburse the departments 75% of the tuition and 45% of the hourly wage for the required hours of training for any cadet hired by the department and paid to attend the Lackawanna College Police Academy. 

“The Scranton Police Department is excited to have six new officers joining the ranks of our department,” Scranton Police Department Chief Leonard Namiotka said. “It was also special that the entire graduating class was sponsored by the respective agencies of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. I am also thrilled that Act 89 will be reimbursing the City 75% of the tuition and 45% of the hourly wage for the required hours of training for the cadets. This will allow that money to be spent on more items such as training and equipment for the department to better serve the community.”

Graduates from Class 255 included William Ardoline, Dupont; Adam Bisignani, City of Scranton; James Griffith, City of Scranton.; Carlos Muniz Jr., Wilkes-Barre; Richard Olshefski, Mountain Top; Cameron Rawlings, City of Scranton; Thomas Stornable, City of Scranton; Kevin Sweeney, City of Scranton; William Wilk, Plymouth, and Zachary Zelinski, City of Scranton.

Lackawanna College Training Future Scranton, Wilkes-Barre Officers

Lackawanna College’s Police Academy Class 255 is off to an impressive start. Comprised of 11 officers from both the Scranton and Wilkes Barre Police Departments, this cohort of cadets embarked on a fully funded police training program in the Scranton campus on April 26, 2021.   

Both the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Police Departments will pay for the cadets’ tuition. The departments are eligible for reimbursement upon cadets’ completion of the program by the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officer’s Training Commissions (MPOETC) thanks to an Act 89 annual grant of $5 million authorized in 2013. This grant stipulates that police officers must be trained and certified through the Act 120 Pennsylvania Municipal Police Basic Training Program for the departments to receive reimbursement.  

“Currently, MPOETC will reimburse a department 75 percent of the tuition and 45 percent of the hourly wages required for the training of any cadet hired by the department and paid to attend the Lackawanna College Municipal Police Academy,” Lackawanna College Director of Police Academy Operations John Chilleri explained. 

Lackawanna College’s Police Academy is the only academy in northeastern Pennsylvania authorized by MPOETC to provide both the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Basic Training Program and the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Annual Mandatory In-Service Training (MIST).  

“The academy also provides law enforcement training for police departments in 13 counties in the Commonwealth, including lethal weapons training (Act 235) and customized training programs, meeting the training needs of law enforcement agencies, private security, and other first responder organizations,” Chilleri added.   

Class 255 is expected to graduate in December 2021. 

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