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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Iraqi Police Graduates Key to the Future

3 April 2007
By Pfc. Nathaniel Smith
4th BCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD - Recruits of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division graduated from training at Forward Operating Base Falcon, March 28. This is the first group of “shurta,” Arabic for police, to come onto a U.S. forward operating base and receive complete, 24-hour-a-day training by a National Police Training Team.

Capt. Scott Hubbard, the operations officer of 3-6 NPTT from Vassar, Mich., said the initial focus of the team was not to train.

“Immediately when we took this mission on, we noticed the biggest problem was that they (Iraqi National Police) were not trained,” Hubbard said. “Training is not what we thought we would do, but we had to put a huge band-aid on the situation so they would not endanger themselves or the coalition forces they are working with.

“Our job is to teach them to teach themselves.”

Hubbard said that after noticing the initial deficiencies, the team came up with a two-week training program that would empower the police to perform their primary mission of protecting the neighborhoods.

The training program includes weapons marksmanship, drill and ceremony, physical training and ethics classes. Once the recruits execute those tasks to standard they move on to team exercises such as precision room clearing and conducting raids.

The trainers, who prepared for their deployment at Fort Riley, Kan., all have some form of experience training U.S. Soldiers, from reserve drill sergeants to instructors in advanced individual training. Likewise, many of the recruits have prior experience in the Iraqi army.

Abd Al-Ameer Kadum, a graduate from the class who also served in the Iraqi army since the Iran-Iraq War, said he appreciated the training.

“During this time that we spent here on this (base), we got good training,” the Baghdad native said. “They care about us a lot. We want to say thanks for our American brothers.”

Hubbard said instructing the recruits was made easier due to the fact that they embraced a key element in training: discipline. Discipline is embraced by the Iraqi people, the operations officer said. This cultural attitude motivated the shurta to do their best in training.

“The men were excited and very proud to get formalized training like this,” he said.

One of the key points Hubbard said he wanted the new police officers to take away from their training cycle is how to treat the Iraqi people.

“The way they treat them as policemen will decide whether (local residents) go against the Iraqi government or if they come on board,” he said. “These people are here to protect them and they need to understand that.”

Hubbard said that police staying involved with their local community is vital to the success of their mission.

“They need to embrace their community, and start doing the right thing from this day forward,” he said. “I believe that they’re ready to do that. They understand this is the key to victory.”

Photo: Staff Sgt. Andrew Palmer, a trainer with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Brigade National Police Training Team from Charlotte, N.C., makes adjustments to a recruit’s prone firing position during pre-marksmanship instruction in Baghdad, March 24. In addition to marksmanship, recruits also trained on drill and ceremony, ethics, and physical fitness. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs).

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