News: 42nd Infantry Division Military Police Make Iraqi Streets Safer
Story and photos by Spc. Adam Phelps
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DANGER, Tikrit, Iraq -- Task Force Liberty Soldiers work to make Iraq's streets a safer place by getting the criminals and terrorists off of the streets.
Military police from the 42nd Infantry Division also conduct cordon and searches and transport prisoners between detention facilities in the Task Force Liberty area of operation.
"Getting these guys off the streets does a lot for American forces over here and the Iraqi people feel safer that these guys aren't out planting improvised explosive devices or shooting AK-47s," said Spc. James McGurn, a gunner, 42nd Military Police Company, and a native of Schenectady, N.Y.
Putting criminals in custody helps protect more than the Coalition Forces, said the task force provost marshal.
"Were not just making it safer for the Soldiers, were making it safer for Iraq," said Lt. Col Joseph Ricchiazzi, 42nd ID provost marshal and senior law enforcement advisor to the Task Force Liberty commander. "When a terrorist pulls a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in the middle of a market they don't hurt a U.S. Soldier, their hurting Iraqis. Were making Iraqis feel safer. The Iraqi people want to see law enforcement working here. They understand law enforcement and how important it is to society."
Once suspected bad guys have been caught the Soldiers of the 42nd MP Company must still protect them while they are under Coalition control.
"Once they're in our custody it's our job to protect them," said McGurn. "They can't protect themselves against the IEDs or small arms fire, so it's our job to get them from the detention facility to Abu Ghraib."
The MPs must also make sure the detainees are treated correctly while they are under their control, Ricchiazzi said.
"We have a duty and responsibility to make sure all people detained by U.S. and Coalition forces are treated humanely and with dignity and respect," said the, Buffalo, N.Y., native. "By taking them down to Abu Ghraib in humane fashion and timely method we show that we are committed to taking care of them."
Catching suspected terrorists and transporting them is only a part of the job the 42nd MPs are doing. They are also training replacements to do their job, a Soldier said.
"We started out slow but day by day we are learning more and becoming prepared to take 42nd IDs place," said Sgt. Julio Tores, 918th Military Police, from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"The Puerto Rican unit is coming on strong after a slow start with mobilizing," Ricchiazzi said. "They put the unit together from pieces of other units but they are coming along. They are a very good unit; the longer they're here the better they're getting."
Even though the 42nd ID military police are from several states they still work together and do their best, Ricchiazzi said.
"The 42nd MPs are a unit split up over Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York," he said. "They are all performing well, and representing their states very well and I'm very proud of how they're doing."
One of the biggest rewards the MPs are getting is seeing the fruits of their labor.
"A lot of people out here don't see what Soldiers do," McGurn said. "We see the results of the work we do and feel we are making a difference here."