TAJI, Iraq - U.S. military policemen with the 591st MP Company, 93rd MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, visited a police station in Saab al-Bour, here, May 15, to assess the station and accompany the Iraqi Police while they handed out fliers.

Recently, U.S. MPs have seen their mission scaling back from a hands-on approach to training the IPs. It is now over-watch; providing support where necessary but to also ensure the IPs take the lead, explained Cpl. Wilibaldo Castro, an MP with 591st MP Co.

"We meet with the district commander and see what we can help out with," the Phoenix native said. "We help with whatever they need, but we make sure they take the lead."

First, the MPs arrived at Joint Security Station Saab al-Bour and split up into groups to assess different areas of the station, according to Pfc. Dustin Shuler, 591st MP Co.

"We break up and everybody has separate jobs," said Shuler, from Syracuse, N.Y. "I check the health and welfare of the detainees and check the numbers to make sure they're accurate."

The numbers add up and everything seems in order, which is a relief to the MPs, according to Shuler.

"This is a level one IP Station, so our work here is pretty easy," he said. "A level four is the lowest level of readiness, so these guys are on the ball, which makes our job a lot easier - there's less we have to do."

With assessments and formalities concluded, the MPs and IPs walk out the gate to conduct a walking joint patrol. It is Friday, which is a weekly day of rest in the Muslim world, so the streets are relatively devoid of people, said Shuler. After a kilometer or two of walking, they stop and set up a hasty checkpoint.

As vehicles come through, the IPs stop them long enough to hand out fliers and move them along.

"The fliers basically say that the IPs are here to help," said Shuler. "It also tells the people how to get a hold of the IPs if they should need them."

"We're out here for the IPs to maintain a presence in the neighborhood, to show that they are here to help," said Spc. William Durner, from Huntingtown, Md., assigned to 591st MP Co. "We want to make sure the little kids know they're safe."

The mission progressed with no incident and the joint patrol returned to the Saab al-Bour IP Station. The 591st MPs bade their brothers-in-arms farewell and headed back to Camp Taji, confident that the work they are doing is contributing to a safer future for the Iraqi people.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16