News: 855th MPs Operate Iraqi Security Forces — Continuing Education Center
Story by Sgt. Kenneth Bince
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SYKES, Talafar, Iraq — 'Desert Warrior' Soldiers from the Arizona National Guard's 855th Military Police Company facilitated the training for two-dozen Iraqi law enforcers through a basic crime scene investigator course conducted here at the Iraqi Security Forces — Continuing Education.
Members of the Iraqi police and emergency response battalion attended the five-day course from in and around the province of Ninewa or northwestern Iraq.
The FOB-based training center is located in its own separate area, away from the distractions and uncertainty of other external Iraqi training facilities.
Multiple law enforcement agencies have received joint training at the center. "The ISF-CEC has accommodated Iraqi Police, Iraqi border patrol, ERB and Iraqi SWAT units, and they all been trained here at the center," said Capt. Noel Chun, 855th Military Police Company commander.
Training given at the center is customized to the students attending classes. "Depending on the makeup of the class for that week, the center will choose appropriate [Ministry of the Interior] approved curriculum," said Chun.
"Why would we give Iraqi SWAT personnel a block on instruction on taking finger prints?", asked Chun.
Throughout the complete five days of training, the Iraqi security forces train, socialize and sleep in the center supported 24 hours a day by 855th MP personnel.
The IPs do everything at the center, with the exception of eating , which is conducted at a dining facility a few miles away. "Depending on the shift that's on duty to support the IPs, we drive them to the DFAC and eat along side of the students," said Staff Sgt. Ibrahim Tommy, 3rd squad, 2nd platoon, 855th MP Company.
"What's extraordinary here is that the IPs, ERB and who ever else attends, really spend a lot of time together and establish cross-agency relationships that will continue long after the five day here on the FOB," said Tommy.
"The overwhelming success of the training facility are due to multiple factors," said Chun, "The most important for sure, is the fact that the company's Police Transition Team missions in Sinjar, Biaj and Bulayj are a great conduit for garnering students," said Chun.
"The relationships established through our Key leader Engagements during PTT missions has given the given the schoolhouse a good reputation, so good in fact, that the company receives requests for training outside of our [area of operation]," said Chun.
"855th Soldiers provide security or force protection at the training facility, but they also act personable and very professional," said Chun. "They are doing a great job, they bought into the program from the beginning, and are following my intent and executing to almost perfection," said Chun.
The MPs listen to the IPs, and always have two-way dialogue. "My Soldiers are attentive to the IPs needs while they are in the training facility, from when they get up until lights out at 10 p.m.," said Chun.
"Most of the time, 855th Soldiers on duty have to make the students go to sleep, because they would stay up too late if left to their own accord." said Chun.
"The MPs from the company have built strong relationships between the IPs, that when my Soldiers see former students at the IPs in the stations, it's like having a little reunion," said Chun.
The schoolhouse has made a difference in the local communities, said Chun. "It enables the IPs see that our Soldiers really care for them and their well being," he said.
"My Soldiers pay out of their own pockets for the little things that make a difference to the IPs," said 1st Sgt. Christopher Ghormley, 855th MP Company first sergeant. "If an IP needs something like over an counter medication for a cold, my Soldiers, many times have pooled money together and purchased the needed items."
The ultimate goal of the training center is to achieve Iraqi police primacy.
Chun described the definition of IP primacy saying, "10 percent of all [local police stations] and [district headquarters] have gone through our school, along with another 10 percent to have completed train the trainer course."
For the hard working MP of the 855th conducting multiple missions throughout the province of Ninewa, the professionalism and values displayed to the Iraqi security forces have established long lasting relationships.
With their continuing education center that introduces or refreshes skill sets to Iraq security forces, perhaps the most important achievement being accomplished is the camaraderie, and networking between the Iraqi inter-agencies and US Forces.
The foundation that will work during the present, continue through the responsible reduction of forces and beyond the presence of the US military.