News: Coalition trains Iraqi police to patrol independently
Story by 1st Lt. Zachary Boes
By 1st Lt. Zack Boes
4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ISKAN, Iraq – Once, the sight of Iraqi police patrolling the streets of Musayyib meant trouble.
Their sight used to indicate someone in the area was about to be arrested. Now they walk the streets to build a relationship with the people and show the Iraqi people they are here to keep the streets safe.
"The IPs, who are a part of this newly formed team, are very proud of their jobs and take their positions very seriously," said Sgt. 1st Class Levares Jackson, a native of Atlanta and platoon sergeant working directly with the Musayyib Iraqi police.
The local police headquarters officially established an active patrol force in September and has been an effective force since that time. The patrol force consists of two teams of six regular-uniformed Iraqi policemen and one police truck to safeguard the local community while alternating shifts.
Musayyib is the first city in the district to create an active patrolling force with its IP forces who are now training with Jackson and his Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
The problem for Musayyib until September was the lack of manpower to sustain a 24-hour patrolling operation and maintain all of the checkpoints throughout the city, the personal security detachment operations and station taskings.
Major Ahmed, the Musayyib IP chief, identified several months ago that having a patrolling force was the next key step in securing the populace of his city and building the IP to the next level. At the time, Ahmed did not have the manpower to create this patrol force, so he began working extensively with his sergeant major and the coalition forces to begin operating the IP checkpoints more efficiently.
Due to this hard work, Ahmed and the sergeant major were able to free up 12 IPs and the one IP truck to begin working in their new capacity as a patrolling force, said Jackson.
Since its establishment, 1st Platoon's main focus has been to develop, mentor and conduct joint patrols with Musayyib's patrol force. He said he believes patrol forces are going to be a key point to transitioning the IP into a self-sustaining security force.
On these patrols, the coalition platoon takes the patrol force to different neighborhoods and walks through the area to interact with the people. Each IP in the patrol team is paired up with a U.S. Soldier, ensuring that they receive guidance and mentorship.
"Every IP, especially the patrol force leader, is encouraged to stop and interact with the people," said Jackson.
The purpose is to get the people comfortable with the idea of the IP patrolling through their neighborhoods. Historically, if there was an IP patrol coming through a neighborhood, there was a good chance the patrol was there to arrest someone or conduct a raid. Now the IP are also going through their neighborhoods to ensure the safety and security of the people.
"The patrol force has developed rapidly in their abilities to speak with the people and address any concerns that the people may have," said Jackson.
The leaders of the patrol teams have been taking notes concerning the issues that are being brought up in the neighborhoods. The patrol team leader then gives the notes to Ahmed and also reviews them with 1st Platoon. This way, major concerns are now able to go through to the city council, the Belladiyah, or any other local government office that it may concern.
Recently, the patrol teams met Hayder Thabit, Belladiyah director, to speak with him about concerns people in some of the neighborhoods are having. Hayder was so impressed with the work that the IP are doing that he gave them his personal cell phone number so they could call him directly to work out issues together, Jackson said.
During a recent patrol, the IP and Soldiers moved to the al-Dobe neighborhood of Musayyib to hand out water filters to the poor families of the area. This was the third water filter handout patrol they have done together.
When 1st Platoon Soldiers are not in the area or cannot conduct a joint patrol with the IP, Ahmed still sends the patrol team out to patrol the streets.