Abandoned Youth Center Becomes Police Headquarters
February 22, 2007
AD DAWR, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2007 - An abandoned youth center is now the new headquarters for the Ad Dawr police department. An attack on Feb. 11, 2007, left the previous headquarters in rubble.
The attack came somewhat as a surprise, said an Ad Dawr police lieutenant through a translator. Ad Dawr is a very close-knit community and violence in the area hasn't been an issue like it has in other parts of the country.
The source of attack was a car bomb detonated from within the perimeter of the police station at around 9 a.m. It killed at least nine policemen and wounded six others, two of which were innocent bystanders.
"I think some people must hate us," said the lieutenant. "No one can expect something like this. The attack was out of hate."
Patrolling U.S. paratroopers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, were about three miles away when they heard the blast. They verified the bombing with policemen at a nearby checkpoint and moved toward the police station.
"The explosion was massive," said Capt. Greg Sakimura, commander of Company B. "It completely destroyed the building."
The paratroopers aided in blocking off the area and sifting through the debris for casualties. They were just as surprised as the police about the attack.
No one is sure what sparked the attack. It was unusual because, according to reports, there hasn't been a car bomb or attack of this size reported in Ad Dawr for a couple of years, said Sakimura.
After the attack, the abandoned youth center was promptly chosen as the new headquarters building because of its location. The police force was adamant about remaining in the city even though another building was available just a few miles outside.
Sakimura and his paratroopers helped with the move by delivering barbed wire, sand bags, wood, and pickets Feb. 12, 2007, so the police could fortify their new facility.
"I think it's great that the police are making progress so quickly," said Sakimura. "The police chief said he felt the only way the police station could support the community is from within the community."
Although similar incidents across Iraq, such as a November attack in Siniyah, have caused entire police forces to quit, no one from the Ad Dawr department has, said the police lieutenant.
"This will not happen again," he added. "We will be patrolling around the tower and the new station and the city at all times."
Sakimura said he's impressed by the policemen's resilience in making the necessary steps to establish their new headquarters so quickly.
The fact that policemen were already at the new police headquarters to download and receive their barrier equipment was a positive sign that they are ready to move forward, he added.
"If there's anything we can do to assist them and support them, we will," continued Sakimura, "but in the end, it's their choice to determine whether or not they want the new facility to be successful."