New hands-on Criminal Justice program beginning this fall

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane and Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski have more in common than just their badges, and desire to protect and serve. Each got their start, along with many other local law enforcement professionals, by earning an Associate’s Degree with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC).

In EICC’s service area alone, there are law enforcement opportunities available at the municipal, county, state and federal level. In the last five years, Davenport has hired in excess of 50 police officers, and Scott County recently added deputies as well.

“Currently, it looks like the future is wide open for those people who want to join law enforcement,” said Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane. “There is a lot more demand than people pursuing the field.”

As the demand for well-trained professionals has grown, so has the need for more handson training. In response to this need, EICC is launching a brand new Criminal Justice program this fall. In the works for well over a year, program development included a great deal of research and feedback from local law enforcement agencies.

“We currently offer a Criminal Justice Transfer Major degree, and beginning this fall we’re offering a brand new Criminal Justice career and technical degree,” said Isaac Newman, Interim Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. “It’s designed to prepare folks directly for the workforce or Police Academy.”

With new courses such as Physical Conditioning, Firearms, Ethics, Interviewing/Writing Strategies, and Patrol, Vice and Drug Control, just to name a few, students who complete the program will stand out among other applicants when applying for jobs in law enforcement, corrections or security.

“We have wanted this in our area for quite a while,” said Lane. “We have a fairly large metropolitan area here that has a need for more applicants. We need to have this local training.”

Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski agrees, and is excited about the possibilities. When hiring, he looks for candidates who not only have a passion for the profession, but who have also taken steps to prepare and learn more about what it entails. The more prepared applicants are, the better their chances for passing the written and physical exams required of officers.

“I think being in a program like this will be really beneficial to both the student and the profession, as well as the college,” Sikorski said. “Students will learn more about the realities of the profession, including how to be successful and survive and really thrive.

“Bringing a new generation of police officers into the field who will be able to shape the profession for the next 20 years is really, really important,” he said.

Both Lane and Sikorski admit while the work can be difficult, there is a reason they have both chosen to serve and protect the community for more than 30 years. They attribute their love of the job to their passion for helping people and the ability to make a difference.

“The one thing about my career that I find very, very rewarding is my ability to provide a service to the public,” said Lane. “They don’t always realize they need it, but when an emergency arises they know exactly who they need to call.”

“I actually have the opportunity to shape law enforcement in our area and to work with the community,” Sikorski said. “God put me into a position to be able to take action and change things in our community for the better; these actions will hopefully take root and last for generations past mine.”

In addition to a full two-year degree, there will be a Certificate and Diploma option for students interested in short-term training. Fall classes begin August 23.


  • First year of program will be offered at Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community College, as well as the CCC Maquoketa Center.
  • Second year of training will take place at SCC’s Urban Campus in downtown Davenport.
  • Students must pass background check before being admitted to the program.
  • Students will experience real-world scenarios through a state-of-the-art firearms simulator, as well as through courses with work-based learning and job shadowing opportunities.
  • An instructor with direct experience in the field will teach classes.
  • Award options include a semester-long Certificate, one-year Diploma or two-year Associate in Science Degree.
  • Certificates are a great option for students interested in corrections/security or law enforcement careers that do not require a full two-year degree. 
  • $65,170 per year: 2019 Median pay for police and detectives, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • $45,300 per year: 2019 Median pay for correctional officers and bailiffs, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics