BAGHDAD -- A transfer of authority ceremony took place at Joint Security Station Muthana here, April 29. The ceremony gave the Iraqi Police primary control of the facility and the security of the community as the Coalition forces step back out of Muthana.

After years of training, the Iraqi Police in Muthana took a major step toward independently protecting their own community.

Soldiers of B Troop, 5th Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Squadron, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, shared the JSS with the local Muthana Police while preparing them to take the lead in the security of the community.

"Because the IP of Muthana have demonstrated the ability to take the lead in the security of their neighborhood, the Coalition forces will take a lesser role," said Capt. Andrew Rohrer, commander of B Troop, 5th Bn., 73rd Cav. Sqdn. "This doesn't mean the (Coalition Forces) will be pulling back from the actual mission."

The transfer of authority is an indication of the changing mission in Iraq - as the Iraqi Security Forces step forward, the CF will step back.

"This is an important move for democracy because of the [Security Agreement] which states we will be responsible for our own security and it feels good to take control of our own security," said Col. Abdulhussain Feng Gumaa, acting commander of the Muthana Police Station. "Because of the difficult circumstances, we have to do our best to protect our territories and stop crime."

According to Rohrer, although the CF is moving to a nearby security station, they will be close enough to assist if needed. The IP are more than ready to take control of security and they are proud that they can take the lead in their community, he added.

"This is a blessed day," said Abdulhussain. "The CF came and helped us stabilize security within our area, now it is time for the IP to do our part and keep our communities safe from terror and crime."

"Each transfer of authority conducted between the ISF and the CF is a step toward a return to normalcy for the Iraqi people," said Lt. Col. David Buckingham, commander, 5th Bn., 73rd Cav. Sqdn.

The CF will have less of an impact within the community as the IP will be building more relationships within their community. The TOA is a small step that signifies the return of the community security responsibility to the Iraqis and the American Soldiers eventual return home.