By Army Staff Sgt. Brent Williams
Special to American Forces Press Service
Aug. 14, 2008 - Leaders from Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad came together Aug. 12 for the grand opening of a new landmark in local security for Iraqis in southwestern Baghdad. Iraqi police officers, working with Police Forces Command al-Karkh and Iraq's Ministry of Interior, officially recognized the opening of the Radwaniyah Police Station during a grand-opening ceremony in the Rashid district.
"In my name and your local IP sons' names, we are promising God and our country to protect our citizens, respect and obey the law and stop all the violations," said Brig. Gen. Yousef Kadhim, commander of the Iraqi Police Rashid District Headquarters.
In his speech at the commemoration of the station, Kadhim said that the Iraqi people must stay aware and protect Baghdad by denying sectarianism.
The official opening of the Radwaniyah Iraqi Police Station signifies improved security in the area that is part of southwestern Rashid, said Army Lt. Col. Johnnie Johnson, commander of 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"This event is a huge milestone for Radwaniyah," said Johnson, whose battalion operates in the largely agricultural and predominately Sunni community. "The IP station has been functioning for the past four months, but has not been recognized by the government of Iraq until today."
As security operations transition to the control of Iraqi security forces in Radwaniyah, the "Tuskers" Battalion will be able to focus on other priorities, such as economics and governance, said Johnson, who hails from Tampa, Fla.
"The Iraqis now have a local Police force to protect the people and handle the routine activities and business related to security here in Radwaniyah," he said. "That is a very, very big achievement."
The Police station has nearly 100 percent of its manning, made up of people from Radwaniyah and from greater Baghdad, said Army Col. Ted Martin, commander of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"This opening today is a great day and marks a new beginning for the government of Iraq and the people of Radwaniyah," said Martin, a native of Jacksonville Beach, Fla. "We have a very tight bond with the people of Radwaniyah. The tribal support council and the U.S. Army and coalition forces work hand in hand to provide security for this area."
Partnered with local Iraqi Police and the Iraqi National Police in southwestern Rashid, 1st BCT works with the local provincial support council to provide a solid umbrella of security for the residents of the Radwaniyah community, Martin said. He also noted that, in the last 90 days, the Radwaniyah community has experienced almost no enemy activity, thanks to the Iraqi people working alongside Iraqi and coalition forces.
"The Radwaniyah security forces of the Rashid district worked with the good people of Radwaniyah to achieve sustainable security, and we see that here today with the opening of the Police station," he said.
(Army Staff Sgt. Brent Williams serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.)