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Photo Information

AR RAMADI, Iraq (May 24, 2005) - An Iraqi Police Officer searches a man at the Ramadi Police Headquarters here. The man volunteered to be an Iraqi Police Officer and must undergo screening by 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, at their facility inside the police headquarters before being issued a sidearm, badge and paid a salary. The infantry battalion is conducting an operation to ensure qualified men fill the forces' ranks.The men take a written and oral exam, are given a physical examination, are entered into the infantry battalion's biometric automated toolset and are questioned as to why they want to serve. More than 500 Iraqis have volunteered. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

1/5 works to stand up Ramadi police force

24 May 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Iraqi police officers wearing blue, protective vests, carrying sidearms and badges walking their beat in the city here will soon be a commonplace sight. So far, more than 500 men have visited the Ramadi Police Headquarters and volunteered to protect and serve. This recent motivation prompted 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, to launch an operation to ensure “only qualified men” fill the ranks, according to Capt. Arturo Hernandez, assistant operations officer with Headquarters and Service Company. “Our mission is to assist in standing up a legitimate police force that’s capable of protecting Ramadi and its residents,” said the 33-year-old from San Diego. The infantry battalion set up a facility at the police headquarters May 22, which neighbors the Government Center that a platoon of Company A Marines use as an observation post, and began screening potential policemen to accomplish this task. Staff Sgt. Douglas D. Kilmer, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines’ mess chief with Headquarters and Service Company, along with six other Marines, two interpreters, one Navy corpsman and a soldier run the facility. Each morning between 50 and 100 men gather outside the police headquarters’ entrance and wait to undergo screening from the 37-year-old from Murrieta, Calif., and his team. “We screen about 50 men a day,” said Kilmer. The applicants are brought through in small groups and are searched by two Iraqi Police Officers under the supervision of Lance Cpl. Christopher M. Johnson, a legal clerk with H & S Company. After the detailed search is complete, the 23-year-old from Maybee, Mich., escorts the men to the screening facility. The men are given a brief before their screenings begin. “We are selecting members for the Iraqi Police Force,” Capt. Barton K. Nagle, the intelligence officer for H & S Company, relayed to the Iraqis through Spc. Redouane Rahli, a linguist with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, during a recent operation. “We want to hire people who want to help protect their city and the members of their city. If you qualify you may become a police officer.” “We record everything on their ID (identification cards),” the 2000 Dundee High School graduate said while writing a man’s name into a logbook. “Names, ages, addresses; the lot. It all gets recorded.” Petty Officer 3rd Class Loui C. Villanueva, a field corpsman with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines’ battalion aid station, then gives each man a physical examination. “I check their heart, lungs and all the basics,” said the 24-year-old from Vancouver, British Columbia. “I also check their range of motion to make sure they can fire a weapon and chase criminals.” When the 1998 Channal Islands High School graduate deems them fit for duty, they take an oral and written examination and are questioned as to why they want to be police officers. “We want to find out what their motives are,” said Hernandez. In the coalition forces’ quest to restore Ramadi’s infrastructure, Hernandez says establishing a competent police force free of bad cops is vital. “This is our AO (area of operations), and we’re responsible.” Three Marines also enter each man into the biometric automated toolset (BAT) before their screening is complete. “The BAT is a way for us to keep track of them,” said Lance Cpl. Adam R. Pulido, an intelligence analyst with H & S Company. The BAT is a system that takes iris scans, records fingerprints, and takes digital photos of individuals, explained the 21-year-old from Sonoma, Calif. “We have a permanent record of them after we enter them into the BAT,” said the 2002 Sonoma High School graduate. “We’re also going to use the BAT to make their badges.” According to Kilmer, after a sizeable amount of Iraqi men are screened and qualified to be police officers – approximately 500 – the next step is for 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, to provide them with training and logistical support. The Iraq Ministry of Interior pays the officers’ salaries, he said. “We’re going to issue them uniforms, badges and weapons,” Kilmer said. “A uniformed force of Iraqi officers will be employed to police the city in the not so distant future.”