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Last Updated: Apr 13, 2007 - 4:10:48 PM

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Iraqi Police: Three provinces graduate officers; making one team, one fight By Maj. Eric Verzola, 4th BCT (Airborne), 25th Inf. Div. Apr 13, 2007 - 4:08:01 PM Blackanthem Military News, KALSU, Iraq — The feeling in the air was a mixture of happiness, pride, satisfaction, and a hint of melancholy. The bright Iraqi sun hung in the sky like a glowing ember of coal, as graduates of the third Iraqi Police Sustainment Training program staged their luggage and books for movement back to their respective home provinces April 10. This was the first class that included IP from the three provinces of Babil, Karbala, and An Najaf. Babil sent 17 police officers, Karbala 20, and An Najaf 10. This diversity in provinces, while training as one unit was reflected in the graduation class remarks of Lt. Col. Greg Bell, commander, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. “This graduation truly symbolizes that the IP train and fight as a team,” said Bell and an Oak Hill, W. Va., native. The military liaison instructor for the class, Sgt. 1st Class Matt Ivacic, a military policeman and native of Orange County, Calif., saw firsthand the effect of having the three provinces together for this program. “When this class started, I could see that the class divided on a provincial level,” said Ivacic. “But as the class went on, I could see them grow closer and build ties. Iraqi Police officers from An Najaf, Babil and Karbala provinces work together in a team building exercise at Forward Operating Base Kalsu during Iraqi Police Sustainment Training Class 07-03 April 2. The program is designed to increase and sustain law enforcement skills that will be valuable in peace enforcement in the three provinces. The course ran from April 1-10. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ivacic) Email this article Printer friendly page
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“Today, at the end of the program, in very short period of time, these men have formed life long bonds by working and living together for only 10 days, but where the real root took hold was the deep understanding that occurs when they see that they share the same struggles and hardships that all law enforcement personnel share and, even more so here where the dangers on your life as an IP are tremendous,” Ivacic said. The instructors in the program, called Iraqi Police Liaison Officers, feel that the 10 days of training offered in police work is just the right time to sustain and develop peace officers for a more secure Iraq in the future. “One way we are able to see the fruit of our labors is going out to the stations and doing visits with the IPs, along with Police Transitions Teams,” said Nathan Wheeler, an instructor and a native of Faulkton, S.D. “These visits let us see the men perform on the job and we can see that they do stand out from their peers.”

Wheeler reflected on the motivation he observed as he trained the class. “I could clearly see that these men are eager and willing to go out and do their duties as law enforcement officers,” said the former Sioux City Police Department officer. “Most Americans back home don’t always realize that the IP face a tremendous challenge, unlike anything most law enforcement personnel in the U.S. usually faces on a daily basis. “While this program is a great resource, many of the IP face tremendous challenges due to the amount of training they may have received, and the equipment challenges they have; you might say that the challenges they face are a different kind of challenge than what American law enforcement faces because we get what we need to go out a do our job, but in Iraq it is a challenge,” said Wheeler. In some cases, he noted that the families of some Iraqi policemen are targeted by insurgents because they support the government of Iraq and are willing to enforce the law with illegally armed militias. But he stated that as he goes out and sees the Iraqi policemen in action, he recognizes more students he has worked with through the course doing an exemplary job despite the challenges, which gives him great hope for the future in Iraq. This hope is realized through this program designed to improve the IP in their security and law enforcement missions. The three ancient provinces represented in this graduation class can be proud and confident in these men who will fulfill their duties as Iraqi Policemen. ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

Iraqi Police officers from An Najaf, Babil and Karbala provinces share a humorous moment at Forward Operating Base Kalsu during Iraqi Police Sustainment Training Class 0703 April 2. The program is designed to increase and sustain law enforcement skills that will be valuable in peace enforcement. The course taught classes in theory of law, practical law, and human rights as well as hands-on training in self-defense and police work. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ivacic)

Iraqi Police officers from An Najaf, Babil and Karbala provinces observe instruction in hand-to-hand combat at Forward Operating Base Kalsu during Iraqi Police Sustainment Training Class 07-03 April 5. Sgt. 1st Class Scott Self, a level four Army combatives instructor who hails from Omaha, Neb., but now lives in Anchorage, Alaska, demonstrates a take down on Sgt. 1st Class Matt Ivacic, military policeman from Orange County, Calif., to their Iraqi students. The course ran from April 1-10. (U.S. Army photo)

Iraqi Police officers from An Najaf, Babil and Karbala provinces take aim at the range at Forward Operating Base Kalsu during Iraqi Police Sustainment Training Class 07-03 April 9. The program is designed to increase and sustain law enforcement skills that will be valuable in peace enforcement in the respective provinces. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Matt Ivacic)

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