By Mike Scheck
Special to American Forces Press Service
Dec. 11, 2009 – In preparation for the upcoming Iraqi national elections, the Gulf Region District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is serving as the managing partner for the construction of 15 “expedient police stations” in northern Iraq. The police station design is similar to the living conditions of compounds on U.S. installations in Iraq. The area is cordoned off with concrete T-walls, a staple of the force-protection measures in Iraq. The office and living quarters within the stations are containerized housing units set on concrete blocks. An entry control point is the only access into the station, and it’s backed-up by a metal sliding door.
The stations also have a central parking lot for police vehicles, and each station will have a generator unit to provide uninterrupted electrical power. The stations cost about $1 million with all of the current modifications and are scheduled to be completed by January. Funding for the police stations is provided by the Iraq Security Forces Fund.
The Corps of Engineers also is improving the quality of life for Iraqi police officers in a number of Baghdad-area police stations, with current renovation projects ranging from minor cosmetic upgrades to complete major construction overhauls with oversight from Gulf Region District’s Baghdad Area Office. The contract expenditures range from $278,000 for renovations to $1.4 million for the construction of several new fully functioning police stations in and around Baghdad.
Renovations to the police stations include upgrades to electrical distribution systems, repair and replacement of sewer and potable water systems, upgrades to communication systems and the addition of fueling and pump island stations. Some stations also will receive new perimeter walls, an entry control point, guard towers and a new parking lot.
Army Maj. Chad Wendolek, officer in charge of the USACE International Zone Resident Office, said the sites designated for renovation and new construction met two criteria. “The strategic positioning of each police station should help balance out protection throughout the area and display to the local population that the Iraqi police are in control,” he said.
Wendolek called the national police rest site under construction the “cornerstone” of the law-enforcement project.
“This $13 million project will act as the command and control node for all police stations and will house the majority of the prime decision-makers for the Iraqi police,” he said. “Due to its location, it will serve as a symbol of the commitment to the rule of law by the Iraqi people.”
Even the Baghdad police divisional headquarters is on the renovation list. Upgrades include construction of a guard ready room, addition of a second floor to the engineering wing and minor repairs to the interior and exterior walls and doors.
The projects are scheduled to be completed by late summer.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Since 2004, USACE has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $8.9 billion, and has 361 projects ongoing.
(Mike Scheck works in the Gulf Region District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)