By Army Sgt. Jessica R. Dahlberg
Special to American Forces Press Service
June 6, 2008 - Deployed Idaho National Guardsmen working as a police mentoring team travel throughout Afghanistan's Parwan province to train and advise the Afghan National Police. As part of the police training, the Guardsmen conducted a traffic-control-point and vehicle-search class June 3.
"If the Afghanistan police stay on the same track they are on now, in five years, I see them being fully capable of functioning on their own," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Junier, a member of the mentoring team.
Junier has previous training as a military police investigator and 20 years of civilian police experience.
"My previous experiences fall right in line with the training I give the ANP," he said. "The ANP want to do a good job. They are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to train."
Before they practiced searching a vehicle, the Afghan police officers attended an instructional lecture, taught by Junier. After that, they performed a mock vehicle search on one of their work trucks.
"They receive the training from us; afterwards, the ANP trainers can develop a program," said Army Maj. Miguel Lopez, mentoring team leader.
The training moves forward in "baby steps," each of which builds on what the Afghan police officers already have learned, Lopez said.
"Last week, we gave the ANP mirrors to check under cars with; this week, we are teaching them how to search a vehicle inside and out; and next week, we are going to teach them what to do if they find an object in the vehicle," he explained.
Though each Idaho Guardsmen has a different way of conducting business, Lopez said, the combination of skills they provide makes for a productive team.
(Army Sgt. Jessica R. Dahlberg serves with the 382nd Public Affairs Detachment.)