American Forces Press Service
May 21, 2009 - More than 1,000 Iraqi police recruits stood at attention on the Public Service Academy parade field here as dignitaries and guests gathered to celebrate their graduation from basic police training May 11. Their graduation signifies Ninevah province's compliance with an Iraqi Interior Ministry directive requiring all currently employed Iraqi police officers to be formally trained by June.
Ninevah Gov. Atheel al-Nujaifi and Khalid Hussein Ali al-Hamdani, general director of police, watched the newly trained officers use smoke grenades, blank ammunition and pyrotechnics in a building-clearing demonstration. Guests watched a series of hand-to-hand combat demonstrations, during which instructors and students broke concrete blocks with their fists, cracked inch-thick wooden dowels over their arms and legs, and saw them stave off attackers in a demonstration of escorting a dignitary.
"I am happy to be here today," Nujaifi said. "Our people of Ninevah are trained to do their job better than ever before."
Each officer completed a four-week basic course covering topics such as human rights, use of firearms, crime scene protection, basic investigative techniques and report writing.
The officers, who were hired last year in preparation for the Iraqi police to assume ownership of security in the cities, will return to the police stations where they were previously assigned.
Demetria Franklin, an international police advisor working with the 302nd Military Police Company, said this training is the first link in the chain of Iraqi police primacy in the region. These officers will work in their communities with a new perspective, Franklin added.
"They have pride in themselves as police officers and understand how it feels to wear that uniform and represent their country, their community and take responsibility for the security of their country and community," Franklin said.
Nujafi told the graduates they are the first line of defense against lawlessness in their communities.
"My brothers and sons, I must first say to you that your brothers, sons and friends are the people of your country," he said. "Serve them. You have to be aggressive to those who operate outside of the law, no matter who they are."
Legitimizing the Iraqi police as the primary security element in the cities will allow the Iraqi National Police to operate as an expeditionary force for the country, officials said.
"As Iraqi police primacy develops, the function of the Iraqi police will change. They will become more of the primary security force in the region," Army Lt. Col. Quinton Arnold, commander of 3rd Brigade, Special Troops Battalion, said. "Right now, the Iraqi army and Iraqi National Police are the primary security force. As that changes, they will move into a more supportive role, and the [police] will take over."
(From a Multinational Division North news release.)