WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 29, 2007) - A U.S. military police brigade deployed in Baghdad is teaching Iraqi police about democratic principles such as tolerance in addition to law enforcement skills, the unit's commander said last Friday.

"Our fundamental role here is to support the Iraqi security forces as the Iraqi government moves forward toward securing the populace," Col. Michael S. Galloucis, commander of the 89th Military Police Brigade, told Pentagon reporters during a satellite-telecast news conference.

Galloucis said his unit is focused on training local Iraqi police and not the national police, which are instructed by other coalition forces.

The Civilian Police Assistance Training Team is another U.S. military organization that trains Iraqis attending the Baghdad Police College, the Jordanian Police Training Center in Amman, Jordan, and another training academy in Numaniyah, located south of Baghdad, he said.

"We work very closely with CPATT all the time, and the training that we do at the local station level builds upon their efforts," Galloucis said.

Galloucis said his people serve as instructors, coaches and mentors. They assist the Iraqi police as they develop organizations, procedures and skills necessary to serve and protect the people of Iraq under the rule of law.

Iraqi police learn concepts of freedom and democracy in addition to policing skills, Galloucis said. Instructors discuss the importance of free speech, the value of diversity, the sanctity of human life, and the notions of tolerance, restraint and forgiveness, he said.

Iraqi police also learn "that nothing good ever comes out of hatred and murder," Galloucis said, noting Iraq's citizens acknowledge the importance of establishing a constabulary that operates according to principles of fairness and justice.

The Iraqi police are improving rapidly as they work side by side with their American counterparts across Baghdad, Galloucis said.

"They are making tremendous strides over here and are out there every day putting it all on the line to help turn the tide and stem the flow of violence that has been so prevalent here," the colonel said.

Yet, dampening the level of violence in Iraq's capital city won't occur overnight, Galloucis warned, pointing to Iraq's complex social and political environment. "We see here gradual movement, gradual progress, and it just is going to take time," the colonel said, noting Iraq was run by a brutal dictator for 30 years.

"There are a lot of people in this country who have responsibilities for trying to stop the violence that we see," Galloucis said. "The Iraqi police are one part of that."

The colonel described the current climate in Baghdad as "dynamic and dangerous." However, senior Iraqi officials are determined to rebuild Iraq and protect its citizens, he said.

"By enhancing the capabilities of the Iraqi police, we are helping set the conditions for more Iraqi self reliance," Galloucis explained.

Iraqis are tired of violence and are eager to embrace a system of accountability and justice that treats all citizens with dignity and respect, the colonel said.

The colonel cited the "superb" courage and commitment demonstrated by his Soldiers. He also praised the contributions of U.S. military members in Iraq. Their selfless service benefits Americans at home as well as Iraqis, he said.

U.S. servicemembers "truly are making a difference here in Iraq," Galloucis said.