QARAYT AR RUFUSH, Iraq -- Air Force security forces executed a presence patrol, April 4, in order to increase proficiency in the Iraqi police and increase the community's confidence in the them and the government of Iraq.
The 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Detachment 2, trained and coached the local Iraqi police per the request of the local police commander. During this mission, the Air Force personnel trained the police in community policing and mentored them during a patrol through a village recently been the target of multiple terrorist attacks.
"These patrols teach the IPs how to interact with the local populous and it helps to deter attacks on the village," said Tech Sgt. Bill Boyden, 732nd ESFS, Det. 2 squad leader, deployed from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. "During patrols we can obtain information that is invaluable. There are people that are still hesitant to talk to the local police but will talk to us and vice versa. Either way we can gather this information that can help protect these people."
"The local police chief wants his officers to do more community policing, as we are changing from operations on the battlefield to stabilization support," he said. "For five years, they have been building up to be self-sustaining and now that they are; they are learning new tactics."
Over the last five years, the Iraqi police have primarily trained to react to combat scenarios rather than simply patrolling the streets in a community policing role. To be self-sustaining, the Iraqi police must leverage the effects of cooperative policing efforts with and through the local community; this effort builds trust and a positive relationship between the Iraqi police and the community and can only be achieved by street patrols.
"We used to solely train the Iraqi police on how to react to an ambush or how to assault through an objective because they had to focus on staying alive on the battlefield," said Boyden. "Patrols like this will allow Iraqi police departments to turn back into community-oriented police departments and they need some help doing that."
During the walking patrol through Rufush, the residents seemed eager to talk to both the members of 732nd ESFS Det. 2, as well as the Iraqi police. Within moments of beginning the patrol, villagers met with the patrol teams and provided them with information regarding recent attacks.
The residents informed the Iraqi police and Security Forces personnel about how they conduct night patrols on their own in order to deter attacks and help protect their village.
According to one resident, the military and police get paid to come and do the patrols; at night, when the villagers conduct patrols, they are not doing it for payment--they patrol in order to protect themselves and their families.
"I really liked that we came out and talked to the people," said 1st Lt. Abidalla Hady, an Iraqi police officer. "At the same time, I like to do something for them. Not just talk to them--but truly help them. I want to know what they are suffering from so we can do something. Because we have to help them and make things happen."
"We didn't used to go and do patrols, especially joint patrols, because of everything that was happening," he said. "The people were scared to talk to us because they felt the bad people would hurt them. Now the people are beginning to trust us and they come to us and complain about what is happening."
In preparation for the responsible drawdown of U.S. military forces in Iraq, police transition team training and mentoring missions like this can help increase patrol efficiency of local police as well as increase the faith and confidence of the Iraqi police within the local communities. In return, these missions will help eliminate the violence and help the Iraqi people.
This work, Security Forces help promote Iraqi community policing, by MSgt Patricia Bunting, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.