MOSUL, Iraq - Iraqi Police recruits formed up in platoons as dignitaries and guests gathered at a parade field at the Mosul Public Service Academy on May 11 to celebrate achievements of the class graduating from basic police training.

There were more than 1,000 recruits in formation for the graduation, the last large class of Iraqi Policemen not formally trained but already employed and working in Ninewah.

Their graduation signifies Ninewah's compliance to a goal set by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior requiring all IP's currently employed to be formally trained by June of this year.

The Provincial Governor of Ninewah, Atheel al Nujaifi and the General Director of Police, Khalid Hussein Ali al-Hamdani were on hand to watch their newly trained Iraqi Policemen demonstrate the process of clearing a building of suspected criminals using smoke grenades, blank ammunition and a host of pyrotechnics.

Guests were also witness to a series of hand-to-hand combat demonstrations in which instructors and IP's broke concrete blocks with their fists, cracked inch-thick wooden dowels over their arms and legs, and staved off would-be attackers while escorting a dignitary.

"I am happy to be here today," said al-Nujaifi about the graduation. "Our people of Ninewah are trained to be able to do their job better than they have ever been before."

Each IP completed a 4 week basic police training course covering topics such as human rights, use of firearms, crime scene protection, basic investigative techniques and report writing.

With this training under their belt, each of these IP's are set to return to the police stations they were previously assigned to as certified, trained police officers.

These officers were hired last year and placed on the police force at local stations throughout Ninewa in an effort to beef up the numbers in preparation for the IP's to take ownership of the security within their respective cities. Each station provided on-the-job training in coordination with Coalition police training teams working in the province.

The MOI realized the need to have these officers formally trained. They issued a directive to have all previously hired and untrained policemen attend formal basic police training according to Maj. Christopher L'heureux, chief of the Ninewah Police Transition Team.

This is the first link in the chain of Iraqi Police primacy in the region. As this type of training is completed, these officers will begin to work their communities with a new perspective on their jobs.

"They have pride in themselves as police officers and understand how it feels to wear that uniform and represent their country, their community and the security for their country and community," said Demetria Franklin, an international police advisor currently working with the 302nd Military Police Co.

As al-Nujafi addressed the graduates, he reiterated to them that they are the first line of defense against lawlessness in their communities.

"My brothers and sons, I must first say to you that your brothers, sons and friends are the people of your country. Serve them," said al Nujafi. "You have to be aggressive to those who operate outside of the law, no matter who they are."

The end state is to legitimize the Iraqi Police as the primary security element in the cities, allowing the Iraqi National Police to operate more as an expeditionary force for the country.

"As Iraqi Police primacy develops, the function of the Iraqi Police will change in that they will become more of the primary security force in the region," said Lt. Col. Quinton Arnold, battalion commander for 3rd Bde. Special Troops Bn. "Right now, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi National Police are the primary security force. As that changes these groups move into a more supportive role and the IP take over. It's all about the IP's becoming the primary security force in the region."