By Donna Miles
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2006 – About 92 percent of Iraq's 188,000 Ministry of Interior forces now are trained and equipped, and all Iraqi National Police soon will receive new official uniforms, the commander of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team told Baghdad reporters today. Army Major General Joseph Peterson reported major strides in preparing Iraq's police elements for their security mission.
Among Iraqi police, the largest group of Interior Ministry forces, about 90 percent are trained and 83 percent equipped, he reported. Those operating in nine key Iraqi cities U.S. forces have been working with are about 99 percent equipped. The National Police, which used to be called the Special Police, are 98 percent trained and 92 percent equipped.
In the Department of Border Enforcement, the element that initially received a lower resourcing priority as other Interior Ministry elements received equipment, forces are 92 percent trained and 56 percent equipped, Peterson said. "So, with regard to Iraqi police and police services, and also the National Police, you can see that they're doing very well right now," he said.
Eighty percent of the platform instructors at 12 training academies that dot Iraq are Iraqis, and Iraqis will run and administer all the academies by year's end, Peterson said. Another 185 international police trainers, most contractors from the U.S., and 169 to 170 police transition teams also are helping build the police forces' capabilities, he said.
Peterson unveiled a new digitized-print uniform, similar to the U.S. Army green uniform but with small Iraqi flags embedded into the pattern, to be issued beginning in October to all Iraqi National Police officers. Officials are working to standardize the uniforms and make them distinctive so insurgents impersonating police officers can't easily copy them, he said. The uniforms will be tightly controlled, and every national policeman should have three by year's end.