By Navy Seaman William Selby
Special to American Forces Press Service
Oct. 31, 2008 - The Iraqi police have achieved operational proficiency, allowing coalition trainers to shift their focus to professional development, an officer said yesterday. "We're continuing to develop big numbers of recruits, but at the same time we're also starting to add to the professional training," U.S. Army Col. Bryan Bequette, director of training support for the Civilian police Assistance Training Team, told bloggers during a teleconference. "Investigator courses, follow on leadership courses, management course ... as we start working on professionalism of the force along and in parallel with the size of it."
Bequette is in command of a team of former police officers, most of them from the United States, that are Iraq in contract positions advising at Iraqi police training centers. They serve primarily in an advisory role.
"Most of what we do is overwatch and assist," he said.
Bequette said his primary concern is training the Iraqi leadership in logistics, management and administration. In order to help the Iraqi leadership become more adept in dealing with logistics, international police advisors also assist in mentoring and logistic support.
"From a trainer's prospective, we're going through right now and scrubbing all the curriculums... the officer curriculums, commissioner curriculums, trying to put more administrative and logistics training in those curriculums," Bequette said.
"The biggest thing is fuel...keeping their local electrical generation going...they just don't have the mindset of sustained maintenance like we do in our military," he added.
Bequette said the Iraqi leadership has excelled in other areas of training however.
"The students seem a little more confident," he said. "The training seems a little better structured. I have noticed the national police, they just seem to be very aggressive about wanting to become a force that's relied on," Bequette explained.
Bequette attributes the motivation, and professionalization of the recruits to the aggressive leadership.
"The last battalion that came in, the leadership was in control from the jumpstart. They had high morale and looked very professional coming in," he said.
"The big tall ticket item right now is investigator training -- basic investigator and advanced investigator," he said. "Now that we've got a handle on providing the numbers to the field the next thing they want is good, quality investigative training."
(Navy Seaman William Selby works for the New Media branch of Defense Media Activity.)