The history of the Police Academy in Szczytno dates back to 1954 when the School for Civic Militia Officers was founded in order to train militia commissioned officers for the needs of all the national militia forces. In 1972 it was renamed the Higher Militia School, which functioned until 1989, performing a leading role in the Polish militia education system of the time. In 1990 the School was given the name of the Police Academy, still remaining at the forefront of the police education system in Poland. In 2004 it celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Police Academy is the only educational institution of the kind with long-standing experience in training police executives and high-class independent police experts. It is also a major teaching facility in the field of public order and safety. Its students acquire knowledge and develop skills in legal sciences (e.g. constitutional, administrative, criminal, civil and economic law, and criminology), humanities and social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, foreign language, professional ethics), as well as police-related subjects (such as: uniform police tactics, crime control tactics, road traffic safety). Moreover, they do specialist training courses to master police self-defence tactics and restraining techniques, to learn how to operate police information systems and communications equipment, and to develop their shooting skills. The Police Academy organizes numerous and popular conferences, seminars, symposia and workshops, which are a significant forum for exchange of experience and knowledge between police and other communities (local authorities in the area of safety improvement, national and foreign institutions of higher education).
The Academy is an important research centre for the needs of the police, reckoned with both in the national and international arena. Since 1999 it has been actively involved in more than 170 research projects, some of them conducted in collaboration with foreign research centres in Germany, Great Britain, the United States, France, Hungary and the Netherlands. The research has been conducted in the following areas: preventive activities, new models of police education, road traffic safety and quality management. The Academy also participates in the European Union grant schemes (PHARE, AGIS, DAFNE and Leonardo da Vinci), which are concerned with the EU integration issues, including police cooperation, the EU Member States common security policy, tightening of borders and organized crime. The research conducted by the Academy is largely co-funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. In 2002 the Academy Institute for Police Executive Staff Training and Development was awarded the ISO Quality Certificate - CERTYFIKAT PN-EN ISO 9001:2001 NR PL-863/1/2002, as a confirmation of the highest quality of its activity. In 2004 the Academy was awarded a quality certificate no. 218/2004 in providing educational services. Within the framework of the project on ‘Enhancement of Police Management Competence” there was established a team whose task was to develop self-assessment tools according to the INK management model.
The Police Academy in Szczytno cooperates with other Polish higher education institutions, e.g.: Warsaw University, University of Warmia and Mazury, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Bialystok University, Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun, Lodz University and Jagiellonski University. The Academy lecturers draw on the experience and expertise of academics from civilian schools. Its conferences and seminars are always held with participation of academics from other universities.
Another function of the Academy is performed by its Police Information Centre, which gives comprehensive advice and assistance to various police units and other state institutions and local authorities in specialist branches of knowledge relevant to police work, as well as promotes information essential for solve specific problems in police units. The PIC closely cooperates with the Legal Advice Bureau and other bureaus at the National Police Headquarters, as well as all the teaching and support units at the Academy.
The Academy can boast successful international cooperation. It has been actively involved in:
- the system of European Heads of Training Conference of Central and Eastern Europe since 1993,
- the Central European Police Academy (MEPA) since 1994,
- the structures of the International Police Executives Symposium since 1999, and
- in the Association of European Police Colleges (AEPC) and the European Police College (CEPOL) since 2003.
Besides this, it belongs to the European Police Learning Network (EPLN). In all of the above organizations it is the only representative of the Polish police. The Academy is a highly regarded partner for police academies and colleges from Germany, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Thanks to its location and contacts, it is a great link between the East and the West.
The Academy has trained police officers from Hungary, Germany and Kazakhstan.
The Academy library has a unique collection of books (covering over 190,000 volumes) and 191 subscribed magazines, including 22 foreign ones, dealing with broadly understood police science. Thanks to having its own Publishing and Printing Department, it conducts its own publishing activity (several dozen publications a year). The Department produces not only manuals and monographs for students, but also publications addressed at a broader circle of readers, and three journals: two quarterlies - Przegląd Policyjny and Policja, and a semi-annual - Internal Security. Last but not least, it produces all kinds of forms for police field units.
The Academy premises provide a real police village, which covers a vast protected area of 33.2 ha. There are teaching, administrative and utility facilities, student hostels (which provide accommodation for 1020 people in 3-person rooms), a canteen (which can seat 500 diners at one seating), hotel for 180 visitors (double rooms), conference centre with a cinema and an exhibition hall, bookshop, shops and cafes. There is also sports complex (a full-sized football pitch and sports fields, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool and gyms) and a shooting range complex, including a shooting range for situational shooting using paintballs. It is also worth mentioning that the Academy puts in place the HACCP-based food safety management system.
Beautifully located among forests and clean lakes, Szczytno is a county capital with 28 thousand inhabitants. Sometimes it is called the gateway to Mazury, as it is the most southward point of the region. Szczytno is known for its tourist attractions and beautiful nature - there are two lakes in its centre: Domowe Małe and Domowe Duże. Most of the town investments are oriented at the environment protection and development of the tourist infrastructure. Local industries include food processing and furniture making, retail and wholesale trade, hotel trade and travel agencies. The town and its surroundings are the pride of the whole region and its historical and cultural heritage. You can find here the most characteristic forms of Masurian landscape, plant and animal life. The forests, lakes, their fauna and flora, and picturesque scenery attract crowds of tourists both from Poland and abroad. Especially popular are three day-long local festivities called The days and nights of Szczytno. They are organized in cooperation with the police and feature numerous domestic and foreign artists. Summer months provide an opportunity to take part in attractive cultural events.