BAGHDAD, Iraq (Feb. 7, 2008) -- Top Iraqi Police official Maj. Gen. Kadhem Hamid Sharhan, the Baghdad provincial police commander joined members of the 18th Military Police Brigade's command group and Provincial Police Transition Team at the Camp Fiji Iraqi Police Training Facility here Feb. 2 to watch 493 new Iraqi Police officers graduate and perform a training demonstration.

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

The increase in police forces is intended to strengthen the overall security of Baghdad as part of a continued Iraqi police expansion program. The program's goal is to train more than 12,000 new Iraqi Police recruits from surrounding provinces.

"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 the 18th's Maj. Larry Dewey, PPTT chief. "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 security techniques the graduates learned during their two-week training period at the academy. The demonstration showcased a wide range of skills, including weapons training, combative techniques, structure-clearing techniques, first aid and defensive maneuvers against small-arms attacks.

During the two-week course offers the graduates also learned about applying democratic law enforcement and policing skills that incorporate values, ethics and human rights; crime scene preservation, and detention procedures.

The 18th works in partnership with Iraqi police officials to increase the number of police recruits and provide them with state-of-the-art training.

The brigade is a U.S. Army Europe unit based in Mannheim, Germany.