BAGHDAD, Iraq (Feb. 11, 2008) -- A new training center for Iraqi Police officers officially opened its doors here Feb. 9.

Baghdad Iraqi Police and coalition forces spent a year searching for the right location for a sizeable training area that could house and train IP recruits. The Furat Training Facility will allow the IP to establish operations to train thousands of recruits who will go through IP Basic Recruit Training and advanced leadership courses.

The training center is an added initiative linked with continued Iraqi police expansion programs. The facility's goal is to train more than 12,000 new Iraqi Police recruits from surrounding provinces.

"This facility, once it becomes fully operational, will be the premier police training center in Iraq. It will provide the police commanders a centralized quality training program that can facilitate about 2,000 new police recruits per cycle," said Maj. Larry Dewey, Provincial Police Transition Team chief, 18th Military Police Brigade. Dewey worked with the Provincial Director of Police for several months planning the development of the Furat facility.

Maj. Gen. Kadhem Sharhan, Provincial Director of Police commander, Baghdad, spoke to a crowd of more than 200 people who attended the facility's ribbon cutting ceremony about building a better future for Iraq and a well-trained police force to secure that future.

"This training center will be for all Iraqis and the future of Iraq. Police recruits will train here to become skilled policeman," said Sharhan.

The general also thanked coalition forces for their efforts in bring the Furat facility to fruition.

Members of the 18th MP Brigade Police Transition Team and the 35th Engineer Brigade worked for several weeks planning and preparing for the opening of the facility as part of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad strategy to support IP expansion.

Coalition forces built restroom facilities; restored electricity; made interior renovations; contracted water and sewage line repairs; delivered water and checked water cleanliness in the area; built a small arms range; leveled the facility's grounds; put guard towers in place; and delivered classroom and interior furniture.

Other supplementary renovation projects are planned for the facility in the near future.

The 18th Military Police Brigade is a U.S. Army Europe unit headquartered in Mannheim, Germany.