By First Lt. Kent F. Davis, First Platoon, Co. C, Task Force 2-27 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry DivisionMay 1, 2009
BAYJI JOINT SECURITY STATION, BAYJI, Iraq - After months of coordination, construction and training, the new $500,000 Iraqi-funded Bayji Joint Coordination Center officially opened its doors for business April 12.
"The JCC is a good thing. It continues our partnership with the Americans and increases our ability to serve the people of Bayji," said Col. Jalaal, head of Iraqi Police in the Bayji area.
Previously, the Ministry of Interior employees lived and worked alongside U.S. Soldiers in the Joint Security Station. Because of such limited space and quarters, the capabilities and function of the JCC Joint Coordination Center were limited. But now, with the completion and occupation of the new building, the potential is limitless.
The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) houses representatives from many local branches of Government of Iraq institutions to include Iraqi Police, Major Crimes Unit, Iraqi Army, Fire Department, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and representatives from the recently re-elected Mayor's office. It serves as a de facto emergency response center, something that had never before been seen in the municipality of Bayji, which some 250,000 Iraqis call home.
The establishment of functional JCCs has been a high priority for the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Broncos) when TF 2-27 assumed responsibility for working with the Iraqi Security Forces in the Bayji area, the previous unit had made many hard-won victories in security and established the foundation for the coordination center.
"We took the next step," said Captain Richard Sugg, Co. C commander. Since Co. C assumed arrived in Bayji in October 2008, the JCC has been transformed from its humble yet inspired beginnings to an effective municipal node providing emergency services, essential services and security for the city and its outlying area.
The JCC is collocated with the Iraqi Police station and adjacent to the Belladiyah, which houses the Mayor's office and the appointed representatives of all National Ministries. This has enabled the Iraqis to effectively establish a city hall with each component of government situated in one locale, another first for Bayji. The change has been remarkable; for the first time, citizens of Bayji know where to go when they have a problem or complaint and can do so without fear of reprisal.
"Things are very good now," said Jassim, a local Iraqi man who came to the JCC to inquire about a relative. "Bayji is much better than it was before. I wouldn't have been able to come because I would be afraid of myself or my brother getting hurt."
As Coalition Soldiers reposition forces in accordance with the new Security Agreement, US structures and equipment are being transitioned to JCC control. "GoI personnel are assimilating our mechanisms and taking on increasing responsibility. This is a real success story," said Pfc. Nathan McCoy, lead driver, First Platoon, Co. C.
As the sun sets on the 20-foot concrete barriers surrounding the Bayji JCC, the cloudless sky takes on a vibrant orange hue. The last of the day's parolees are leaving through the Iraqi-manned entry control point of the Joint Security Station. The Iraqi Police are talking with Ministry of Interior personnel at the JCC to coordinate an arrest warrant for a man accused of collaborating with insurgents. A Ministry of Sanitation official is increasing frequency of trash pickups, and a handful of other dedicated officials are planning for tomorrow's challenges to ensure a city of a quarter million people receive the services they need.
The Infantry Soldiers of Charlie Company, Task Force 2-27 are sitting at one end of the JCC, sometimes making suggestions, but mostly just observing at a functional coordination center that was impossible to think of a year ago.