Wednesday, February 14, 2007

TFV Soldiers assist Iraqis with new IP station

1st Lt. Randall Cornelison
TFV, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI)

BAGHDAD — Old things can become new, and it’s exciting when they do.
In Airport Village, Iraq, also known as French Village, two thousand residents are receiving a new Iraqi police station made out of old buildings on the south side of the village.
With new windows, doors, paint and plaster, mown grass and stray trees uprooted, the old dilapidated buildings are becoming new, and with them a renewed beginning for Iraqi police in Airport Village.
Soldiers from Task Force Vigilant, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) are facilitating the process of building the new IP station. Currently, the distance from the village to the closest existing station is too far to get timely help. Citizens could not expect the police to arrive in the village from IP stations in Baghdad in time to help with a crisis. Additionally, because of some struggles within the Iraqi government, the IPs are not permitted to fully enforce the law except in the village.
“The new police station will bring the Iraqi Police drastically reduced response times, will serve as a visible symbol that the Iraqi government is able to protect its own citizens from crime and the rogue militias which are threatening and forcing good families to leave the village, and will re-assert police primacy as legitimate Iraqi Security in Baghdad International Airport,” said Maj. Brett Kessler, the TFV commander and native of Philadelphia, N.Y.
Taking a page from the new counterinsurgency manual, which states, “Well sited and protected police stations can establish a presence in communities . . .and build support for the host-nation government” - TFV has worked closely with the IPs and the contractors to “build to suit.”
The station renovation, designed by the BIAP IP chief, Lt. Col. Col. Yaseen Mustafa Abdul Ghafour, Kessler and Esam Al Asker, an Iraqi local contractor, will create a sub-station of the main BIAP station and will be under Yaseen’s supervision when complete.
The new facility includes a reception area, office space, a parking area, sleeping quarters, and holding cells for criminals. TF Vigilant presented the idea for a new police station, one that would be integrated into the community and allow IPs the ability to train on local, domestic law enforcement to the city council and Yaseen who made it (the idea) their own.
Council Chief Thabit stated, “The most important contribution is the trust the station will build between the residents and the Iraqi government. This station is a seed of trust. It will always be available to assist residents with any need they have,” he said. “The new generation of young people here will benefit from interacting with police in Airport Village. I want to thank everyone who is working so hard to make this happen.”
“The new station will enable IP officers to keep a closer eye on the village and better protect the citizens from crime, threats of eviction and speeding. One strong leader at a time, Iraq is becoming a safe place for Iraqi families.”

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