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    MPs, Iraqi Police Bring Academy Back to Life



    Courtesy Story

    1-230th Cavalry Regiment

    Story by: Staff Sgt. Tony Sailer

    KARBALA, Iraq -- A handful of gutted buildings co-located with the Emergency Police Station in east Karbala will soon be home to the new Iraqi Police Service Academy thanks to the "Headhunters" of 4th Platoon, 66th Military Police Company, Task Force 1st Armored Division.

    "The academy has been running for seven or eight months but no renovation or repairs had ever been made to the environment," 1st Lt. Timothy Hogan, 4th platoon leader said. "They were conducting classes on thrown together desks in a bombed out building."

    The location influenced the training, he said."If you live in poor conditions and work in poor conditions, you will not perform at a high level," Hogan said. "That is why we looked at the academy and said 'let's put them in an environment that is a higher standard and maybe they will raise there own standards.'"

    So far, $58,000 has been invested in the academy for things like re-painting, cleaning out rubble, fixing the plumbing and electrical wiring. They are also installing air-conditioners and filling holes in walls. Instruction materials were purchased such as white marker boards and a weapons practice range was built. But the renovations to the buildings are not the only improvements being made. International Police Advisors, a group of 10 men from the United States with a wide array of skills and experience, will mentor the Academy's 13 instructors.

    "What we are trying to do is get these instructors to a level where they can teach on their own. That way, Iraqis will be teaching Iraqis and it will have more legitimacy," said John McGary, group leader for the visiting International Police Advisors. "They are soaking it up, asking the right, intelligent questions," McGary, a Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. native, said. "Due to the heat, we are limiting our mentoring to a four hour block [of instruction] in the morning. They are eager to stay for more.

    "Despite the enthusiasm, there a few obstacles," he said.

    "We are communicating through translators," McGary said, "so everything is taking twice as long to get through. And we are not entirely sure if it is getting translated the way we mean it to." It is a long road that the coalition training and mentoring team has started on and much work lies ahead.

    "They are willing but not there yet. [I hope they can gain] professionalism, confidence, integrity," McGary continued. "[They need to learn] simple things like handcuffing, traffic stops and patrol tactics. They don't know how to patrol. They don't have any idea. I'm not saying that to put them down, they have never been taught, they have never been trained.

    "Iraqi policemen are working hard to learn the modern practices of law enforcement," Hogan said. "It wasn't like a western police force; it was a regime police force," Hogan, of Dubuque, Iowa said. "They were more reactionary. They would sit in their station until something happened and then react to it. There was no crime prevention," Hogan continued. "Living under a dictator, they had the Secret Police out there enforcing and terrorizing the populace but now the people here are free."

    Now, the MPs and IPAs are molding a new police force, one that can handle the new challenges facing Iraq. "We are using the Transition Integration Program," Hogan said. "It is the basics. It is meant to bridge the gap between the regime police officers and the new modern force. Most of them had previous training; [the equivalent of] a year long police science course. It did not cover basic human rights or basic police skills. It was more military [oriented]."

    The academy has been successful so far but more improvements are still required to get the force to a self-sustaining standard, according to McGary. "With the new police academy, the course is going to have to be completely revamped," McGary said. "We will mentor them, but they are going to have to come up with a whole new curriculum. Later we will venture into teaching the administrative support aspects, something else they are in great need of."

    The average class size will be around 70 cadets and the training cycle revolves around 28 days of training. The training consists of standards and code of conduct and human rights rules. They will learn some police basics such as handcuffing, searching, interviewing witnesses and traffic stops. The cadets will also learn firearm safety through 9mm pistol and AK-47 assault rifle weapons training and qualify at the firing range. They will finish up the training with testing and graduation.

    "We are teaching the cadets how to protect our people and themselves," Maj. Jawad Hady, deputy chief of the Karbala Emergency Police Department, said. "We will learn the correct treatment of people."

    "Once the police force is up and running I would like to see something like in-service training," Hogan said. "Once a year they would go back to the academy for a refresher course or to learn new techniques. They have to continue training. With the numbers of people we need to train, we don't have the resources and we don't have the time to get too in depth." Hogan said. "That is what I hope the Iraqis can understand; that this is not a quick fix, we can't just hurry up and get them on the streets. It is a long process."

    "I feel that this is a great project," Hady said. "I am satisfied and proud with the improvements. I have a great feeling for the future of the academy."



    Date Taken: 07.06.2004
    Date Posted: 07.06.2004 15:45
    Story ID: 89
    Location: KARBALA, IQ

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    Downloads: 94