2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. PAO
MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq — Despite Iraqi Security Forces being a primary target for anti-Iraqi terrorists, people continue to volunteer for the Iraqi police. A recruiting drive recently in Mahmudiyah brought almost 2,000 Iraqi citizens vying for jobs.
The three-day drive in Mahmudiyah from July 8th through the 10th attracted 1,804 applicants eager to find a job. The drive was orchestrated largely by the 23rd Military Police Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Brigade, which is based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The mayor of Mahmudiyah, Mouyed Al-Ameri, visited applicants at the drive, as did Gen. Abid, the police commander in the area.
Applicants were safely processed and tight security and coordination between Iraqi and Coalition Forces ensured safety for everyone involved. Each person was searched twice before entering the compound, and twice within, to prevent attacks on the group of people.
The applicants were mostly Shia, although Sunnis were well-represented as well. They came from many of the local villages – al-Rasheed, Mahmudiyah, Lutifiyah, and Yusufiyah, and the drive was extended for a day to the population of al-Rasheed and other areas of Sunni majority, so that the recruit base will be more evenly represented.
As each person applied, they were entered into a biometrics database with a retinal scan, fingerprint, and photograph.
The Mahmudiyah district, which includes Lutifiyah and Yusufiyah as well as countless outlying villages, will have eight police stations and joint security stations in the next five years; most of them are already built. But staffing them with trained police is the next goal – one which the recruitment drive helped substantially.
“We’ll be able to have more presence patrols and more checkpoints,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Porter, a native of Portsmouth, Va., and a platoon sergeant with the 23rd MPs. “We can cut out the unauthorized checkpoints and provide more established security, just as soon as we get police through the academy and get them the resources they need.”
The operation was aided by the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army division, both based in Mahmudiyah.
“With good recruits, we’ll end up with a police force more capable of providing security for the local population,” said Capt. Dustin Walker, a native of Bedford, N.H., and an adviser to 2-15’s partnered Iraqi Army unit. “Recruits from this area have a vested interest in protecting their home areas, and the number of people who want to get involved with their government is outstanding.”
Friday, July 13, 2007
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. PAO