BAGHDAD, Iraq -- More than 1,000 recruits moved through a security checkpoint near the front entrance of the new Furat Training Center here Feb. 10, just one day after a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new police training facility.

"We are here to become Iraqi Police officers; to get a good job. And we are here for our country," said Jabbav Mitir, one of the hopeful recruits.

Mitir, like some of his fellow recruits, was formerly a member of the Sons of Iraq, a citizen security program, who now wants to become a 'shurta' policeman to protect his fellow citizens.

"These are citizens who wanted to stop crimes in the past; now they will be allowed to do that," said Capt. Mohammad, training commander for the IP's Forward Unit.

The Sons of Iraq now training to become IP officers are part of the IP expansion program aimed at training more than 12,000 new police recruits from Baghdad's surrounding provinces.

"This is an additional opportunity to train police forces to protect the Iraq people," Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of the Army's 4th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division - Baghdad told reporters following the ribbon cutting.

During their first day, the recruits were signed in, provided quarters where they will live during Basic Recruit Training, and given basic information about what to expect during the two-week training cycle.

During the course, a typical training day for the recruits includes learning basic law enforcement techniques such as weapons training, combative methods, structure-clearing skills, first aid and defensive maneuvers against small-arms attacks. IP candidates are also given a basic understanding of democratic law enforcement and policing skills that incorporate values, ethics and human rights, as well as crime scene preservation and detention procedures.

The 18th Military Police Brigade Police Transition Team and the 35th Engineer Brigade worked for several weeks preparing the Furat facility for operation. The current class of recruits is the first of many expected to flow through the new training center in the coming months. Following their training, the recruits will be assigned to IP stations around Baghdad and its neighboring provinces.

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