BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Feb. 5, 2008) - Top Iraqi Police officials and Coalition military police gathered at the Camp Fiji training facility Feb. 2 to witness 493 new Iraqi Police officers graduate and perform a demonstration.

"This increase in police force will better the peace for the citizens," said Capt. Mohammad, training commander, Iraqi Police's Forward Unit. "I see only good things in our future."

An Iraqi police expansion program aims to eventually train more than 12,000 new Iraqi Police recruits from surrounding provinces.

Maj. Gen. Kadhem Hamid Sharhan, Provincial Police Commander of Baghdad, members of the 18th Military Police Brigades' command group and the Provincial Police Transition Team were among those present at the graduation.

"I am anxious to find out how many improvements there will be in the near future in Baghdad because of this increase in Iraqi Police forces," said Maj. Larry Dewey, Provincial Police Transition Team Chief, 18th Military Police Brigade. "I am very impressed with the training we have seen to date in this graduating class, as they (Iraqi Police trainers) have led the class completely on their own."

The ceremony included an Iraqi Police demonstration of techniques learned during the two-week training period at the academy.

The demonstration illustrated how the new Iraqi Police officers will provide safety in their neighborhoods with weapons training, combative techniques, structure-clearing techniques, first aid and defensive maneuvers against small-arms attacks.

In addition to the techniques demonstrated at the graduation, the two-week course offers Iraqi Police candidates a basic understanding of democratic law enforcement and policing skills, while incorporating values, ethics and human rights; crime scene preservation and detention procedures.

The Iraqi Police and the 18th MP Brigade will continue their partnership, officials said, to increase the number of recruits and train capable Iraqi Police to better serve the nation's people.

(Sgt. Daniel D. Blottenberger serves with the 18th MP Brigade Public Affairs Office.)