In 1918, after the proclamation of the Independence of the Republic of Lithuania, when the militia was in the process of formation (only on 1 January 1924 the militia was renamed as police), the issue of staff training was very relevant.

The first militia officers were very different: served in the Russian Army, the German Gandarmery, or the city residents and farmers with no military training. They did not have unified uniform and different clothes were dominant at that period. In some cases it was enough to have only a special bandage on the sleeve. The armament included different guns, pistols and swords in various condition.

From the collection of Skirmantas Andriušis. The photo of  graduates of Militia College.  

In many parts of Lithuania there existed criminal groups that consisted of prisoners of war (called “pliencikai” at that time). In addition, people supported by the Soviet Russia became more active and started forming military units. In the south of Lithuania, Polish reactionaries started their activity. The militia actively stood up to the enemy with guns and suffered casualties. The militia as the main law enforcement institution had a lot of work to do. However, there was a lack of basic professional knowledge. Officers serving in militia had a very different professional background. The was a quite big number of officers with only a primary education (especially among the ordinary officers). Considering the fact that during that time even secondary (gymnasium) education was highly appreciated, only a small number of officers had the higher education. Despite of harsh conditions of that time, the training of police staff was introduced to the local training institutions.

The first educational institution of militia staff was not entirely legal – it was called Militia Reserve and established in Kaunas on 1 November 1992. Juozas Navalkas, the Director of the Department for Protection of Civil Rights under the Ministry of the Interior (the equivalent for the present Commissar General of the Lithuanian Police), issued the order No. 37, which declared the following: „On 1 November, the Militia Reserve is established – a school which is based in Kaunas, Linksmadvaris“. However, this order may be regarded as not entirely legal, as it was signed only by the Director of the Department. Under the policies of the time, the right to establish the police school was granted exclusively to the Minister of the Interior, while the formation of the officer reserve was the competence of the Director of the Department. In spite of this fact, the legality of the order was not taken into consideration and immediately Militia Reserve-School was called Militia College. At first, the College provided the training only for police officials. The training for the ordinary officers started in 1923 in Rokiškis, when the Lower Police School was established. Due to the fact that the small state was incapable to maintain two police training institutions, Rokiškis Lower Police School was merged with Kaunas Militia College. Police officials and ordinary officers were not provided with the systematic training (compared to the present training), the only permanent training was related to qualification improvement. However, the system was effective enough and corresponded to the needs of the time. Police College organised short-term and long-term qualification improvement courses for the officers working in public police, border police, criminal police, railroad police and other areas of the police system. The College admitted officers serving in police system, usually police officials of lower rank, and ordinary police officers who were the candidates to the post. As it was mentioned, they had a very different educational background including people with post-secondary or higher education, who used to become police officials. The duration of qualification improvement courses varied from two weeks to eight months.

The Statute of Police School was approved only in 1935. The Statute determined that the duration of the main course was one year, while the duration of the temporary course was determined by the Police Department. The following subjects were taught at the School: the Lithuanian language, the knowledge of native country, political science, hygiene, office work, sanitation and first aid, standing in lines, anatomy and physiology, topography, guns and shooting, antiaircraft and antchemical security, police and administrative law, state law, criminal law, criminal process, criminology, civil law, inquiry and perquisition, and police tactics. There were no permanent employees in the Police College, except three administration servants (the Head of the School, Inspector, and Instructor). However, the School invited very experienced police practitioners, chiefs, and members of academic community, who were famous scientists. In the period of 1922 – 1940, the Heads of the School were S. Mickevičius, A. Ramanauskas, V. Jankauskas, A. Janušonis, V. Remeikis, and J. Mučinskas.

Heads of the Police College near the old school building in Linksmadvaris. Cadets of Lower Police School  near the school building in Rokiskis. The building has remained until present. Shooting practice at the Police College.

During the period of existence, the Police College had 61 events of qualification improvement courses. During three years of existence, Rokiškis Lower Police School had 11 events of qualification improvement courses. In 1939, when Lithuania regained Vilnius region, the courses were organised in Vilnius. Unfortunately, the Soviet Occupation stopped the activity of courses after only two events. The new Soviet authority closed the Police College and reorganised the police system. It became the Militia of SSSR Labourers and Peasants. During the process of the reorganisation, the existing police staff lost their jobs and even were repressed or deported.

The cadets of the Police College near another school building in Kaunas. Nowadays Faculty of Public Security of Mykolas Romeris University is established here.


Information prepared by

Skirmantas Andriušis

Last updated: 22-03-2021