CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq - The melody of a group of Tikrit Orphanage girls singing songs of ending war, establishing friendship and peace created a glimpse of hope for the future of Iraq during Salah ad-Din province's first district validation ceremony where policemen received complete authority to serve and protect the district, May 19.
Nine local Iraqi Police stations of the Tikrit district received validation establishing independence from the 342nd Military Police Company, who was responsible for advising the IPs on the security of the district.
"Today is one of the great days in Iraq because of the validation ceremony for Tikrit headquarters' policemen who receive security and responsibility from Coalition Forces-this is a great and important step for the Iraqi Police and the people of the province," said Col. Emad, chief of Tikrit District Police.
Senior leaders from both Coalition forces and local government celebrated the district IP's ability to function solely on their own.
The validation process is based on an Iraqi police station's ability to conduct operations effectively and confirms that the station would not require Coalition forces presence.
"Since early January we arrived in Tikrit and have been working alongside the local and district Iraqi Policemen as partners through everyday operations," said Capt. John Shipe, company commander, 342nd Military Police Company, attached to 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
"To assist the Police of Tikrit we have encouraged them to focus on community policing-going out and getting familiar with their area-becoming familiar with the store owners of the local shops, basically creating a positive public perception. Our partners have come a long way," he continued.
The ceremony allowed various local, district and provincial leaders to speak on the progression of the policemen of Tikrit and the forward direction that they envision Iraq going due to the continued efforts of the security forces of Iraq.
"The security situation is totally different compared to six years ago-we want to thank all who have cooperated with the Iraqi Police to produce this result," said Mayor Wa'el Ibrahim, Mayor of Tikrit.
"The police of Tikrit have proven by securing the streets that they are ready to operate on their own," he added.
The ceremony ended with awards of appreciation handed out by senior Iraqi leadership to policemen who had contributed in building and strengthening Iraqi Police forces to take on the responsibility of continually securing the streets of Tikrit.