Iraqi Police, Marines secure polling sites

3 Feb 2006 | Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

Iraq’s national election was a milestone towards making it an independent and free nation.  The polling sites in 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment’s area of operations had to be protected from any insurgent activity.

The main effort of the Coalition Forces in Iraq is to make conditions where the people can take care of themselves.  To further that goal, the Iraqi Police protected the polling sites and the voters waiting in line there.

“The IPs did an excellent job of protecting the Iraqi people that wanted to vote,” said 2nd Lt. Bryan R. Kelsey, Iraqi Police liaison officer for the battalion.

This group of IPs arrived shortly before election day at the Karmah Police station from the city of Fallujah.  They will be a permanent presence in the city to help eliminate intimidation of the community by insurgents and to maintain law and order.

On Election Day, the police officers were in charge of protecting six polling sites in the area where the locals could vote.  They were also in charge of getting the election officials to and from the polling sites safely.

The new police force began their job with great success – a high turnout in the battalion’s AO, with tens of thousands of local Iraqi citizens voting for candidates of their choosing.  Once the election was finished the IPs had one job yet to finish: they escorted the ballots to Fallujah to be counted.

“We had no problems with this election, just like the last one,” stated Kelsey, a 23-year-old Chicago native.  “The IPs knew what they were doing and the elections went smoothly as a result.”

Now that the elections are over, the Marines of Company G are helping the police force further their training by conducting joint patrols and instructing them in basic engagement techniques in case they are attacked by insurgents or with an improvised explosive device.

“The IPs are taking well to the training and the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Najim, is a good leader that knows what he is doing,” Kelsey stated.  “They are well on their way to taking their roll in a free Iraq.”