Iraqi City Rebuilds Police Force After Uprising
January 19, 2007
SINIYAH, Iraq, Jan. 17, 2007 - Insurgent uprisings around the last week of October forced the majority of the city's police officers, the mayor and the entire city council to resign. The uprisings resulted in the complete destruction of the police station and left the city without security.
After the devastating blow, a new police station is being built and police officers are being trained to standard, said Antoine Dunmeyer, commander, Company A, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
The few police officers that stayed on duty opened recruiting stations throughout the city. So far more than 80 recruits have joined the force, said 1st lt. Qaiss Kamal, a Siniyah police officer.
"They want to serve the people of Siniyah and they want to support the families of Siniyah," said Kamal.
The police are currently operating out of the Siniyah municipal building, which is located near the mosque at the center of the city where most of the October attacks occurred. Already, the city's security situation has improved, said Kamal.
A permanent police station is in the process of being built nearby. The new floor plan includes elevated police security points, almost like guard towers, which will provide an eagle's-eye view of the streets.
The officers are also looking forward to furthering their professional training, said Dunmyer. They will learn basic skills such as protecting the police station and conducting street patrols.
"Insurgents don't bring the fight to you. They take one shot and run. Once we are provided the equipment and the intelligence we need to patrol, we will definitely go after the bad guys to make Siniyah a safer place to live," said Kamal.
Dunmyer's company and the 4th Iraqi Army Division have provided 24-hour security for Siniyah since mid-November and will continue to do so until the police force becomes strong enough to defend and protect the city on its own.
The newly-trained police officers will form police transition teams, which will train in mid-January with the 303rd Military Police Company, 89th Miltary Police Battalion - an Army Reserve unit out of Jackson, Mich. - on Forward Operating Base Summerall.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hockey, a squad leader, 303rd Military Police Company, said the police officers will make their transition once they complete three stages, beginning with police station security, getting new uniforms and getting new equipment.
"(We are) teaching them how to defend the building and how to show the people of Siniyah that they can be trusted," said Hockey. "(The last step) is basic patrolling the city itself."
The police force has only four trucks, five AK-47s, and the promise of a new building. For now, they bring their own weapons to work every day and work in the temporary facility.
The 303rd Miltary Police is trying to show the Iraqi policemen the channels they can go through in their government to get what they need. In time they will improve and become self-sufficient, added Boys.