War on Terrorism

Monday, July 06, 2009

Soldiers Check on Progress of Iraqi Police Station

By Army Sgt. Jon Soles
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 6, 2009 - In 2006, an insurgent's bomb destroyed the police station in Tarmiyah, Iraq -- near Taji, north of the Iraqi capital -- leaving a burning pile of rubble. Today, the station has risen from the ashes and is a new source of pride and an improvement for security for the town. Soldiers of the 591st Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, are helping the Tarmiyah police to prepare for the grand re-opening of a new, modern building, funded by coalition forces.

Army 1st Lt. Brenda Beegle, a platoon leader with the brigade's 591st Military Police Company, met here July 3 with the Tarmiyah police commander, Col. Tawfiq Ahmad Hamid, to help to plan the station's opening and to check on security.

"We are here to find out when the grand opening of this station is and to check on the red alert they received," said Beegle, a native of San Mateo, Calif.

After an insurgent's car bomb left the old station in ruins, local council members arranged for the police to use a small house for their headquarters. The house was cramped and made carrying out security operations difficult, Beegle said.

"They couldn't do their job, because they didn't have enough space," she said. "This new station shows the public the [Iraqi police] are worth something."

The floors of the new station are shiny, and the halls are filled with the aroma of fresh paint. The new station not only is a town showpiece, but also has made police work much easier, Hamid said.

"Imagine yourself with one rented room, and then you go into a big house with many rooms," he said. "Of course, there is a difference."

But the new station, with its spacious rooms and high walls, does not alone make a good police force, Beegle noted. "Even though the building is really great, we are still trying to get them to do patrols without us and to be proactive," she said.

Standing inside a newly constructed steel tower, Army Pfc. Samuel Castaneda kept security watch. From the tower, he said, soldiers still worked with Iraqi police officers to provide security and train for security.

"If we see anything suspicious we let them know, 'Hey you need to do something about that,'" Castaneda said.

Beegle said she is working to involve the local Iraqi media and government officials from Baghdad in the Tarmiyah police station's re-opening. The American military police have supported the Iraqis throughout the construction of the new IP station, she added, and will continue to support them in training.

(Army Sgt. Jon Soles serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad public affairs office.)

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