By Pfc. Sharla Perrin, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsMay 20, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq - A police officer entered a junior high school in her district. Wearing her bullet proof vest and carrying her 9mm pistol, she resembled police officers throughout the country; friendly and smiling, easy to talk to. Hailing from Sugar Land, Texas, her southern accent drew her audience close to hear what she had to say.
Demetria Franklin is an International Police Advisor Team Leader and works in western Mosul, Iraq. While her home station is in Sugar Land, her current duties are with the 302nd Military Police Company, 607th Military Police Battalion, 11th Military Police Brigade currently in Mosul, Iraq.
The company and their Iraqi Police counterparts with the Al Rabin Iraqi Police District Station conducted a humanitarian aid drop at a school in the area May 12 to sustain the children's awareness program that Franklin initiated in the area. This program is not unlike the D.A.R.E. program that police officers in the United States participate in.
"The purpose of the HA drop was to follow up on the D.A.R.E. program that we've established in the Al Rabin district, which is as close to the D.A.R.E. program in the United States as we can get," Franklin said.
She said the program was to promote awareness in the children that they can make a difference in their own lives by reporting illegal activity to the IP.
Shop owners, stay-at-home-moms and pedestrians are often asked about the security in their neighborhoods and local insurgent activity, but Franklin said that the real eyes and ears of the city are the children.
"The people who see everything are the kids, and because the police are more community oriented, those children will tell their parents, who will in turn tell the IP," she said.
Franklin's efforts have garnered a significant difference in the attitudes of the community towards the police department. Smiling faces now greet the IP wherever they go.
"The kids love to see the police out there," Franklin said. "The thing about Rabin is the relationship that the commanders have with the children. They have a really good relationship.
They'll ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up'" and the children will respond, "I want to be an IP!" Franklin said.