CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq -- They came from all over the region. From the city of Husaybah, the towns of Karabilah and Sa’dah and the little communities in between. In the cold rain, they walked to become police officers.
Approximately 200 Iraqi men came forward, were screened and deemed fit to become Iraqi police recruits, according to Master Sgt. Mark S. Mosher, team chief, Police Partnership Program, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Al Qa’im region, until recently, was largely in insurgent hands. After operations conducted by Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines from Regimental Combat Team-2, the area was swept clear of enemy.
This is the first time a police force has ever been established within the region since the old regime was toppled, according to Capt. Cameron L. Grams, the assessment team leader for Police Program Partnership. Before the area was swept clear of insurgents, a police force would not have been able to deal with the insurgents and would have been essentially driven out of town.
“The stability and security in this region proved to be the most conducive to establishing a police force,” said Grams.
The screening process conducted here included an application and a security clearance, as well as a physical fitness and reading test. A picture is also taken of the applicant as well as his fingerprints and a scan of his iris.
“We do that to determine if some of these guys have been detained,” said Sgt. Michael J. Schmidt, an artilleryman attached with the Police Partnership Program.
After being screened, the applicants who are selected will be sent to the Baghdad Police Academy where they will spend ten weeks learning basic law enforcement and civil rights. After graduation they will return to the Al Qa’im region, receive additional training and go to work as policemen.
“2006 is the year of the police,” said Grams.