CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - Soldiers from Task Force Shield, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, visited the Mosul Police Services Academy as new Iraqi recruits began training this week.

The Iraqi Police instructors at the academy, trained by U.S. Soldiers and civilian police advisors, teach the four-week basic recruit training course. After completion of the course, the newly trained policemen are assigned to a district within the Ninewa province.

"Our troops are here to assist the Iraqi Police in teaching their recruits," said Lt. Col. Kevin Henderson, the Stability Team Transition chief for Task Force Shield. "We observe and advise the IPs when they need it."

Currently the academy is training approximately 800 new recruits, who are expected to graduate in early December.

"The courses taught here are fully taught by other Iraqi Police," said Henderson, a native of Newburg, N.Y. "I think if they keep at it they'll be very capable (of continuing this training once we depart from Iraq)."

Lt. Col. Daham Hamed Bassam, the IP training commander for Mosul, believes that even though maintaining the school without the presence of U.S. troops will be challenging it's also a very attainable and realistic goal.

"Despite our lack of instructors and computers, the Iraqi police are still doing good at training our people," said Bassam.

The basic training course also includes cultural awareness, weapons training and self-defense classes, and it offers different advanced courses so that experienced IPs may return and learn additional skills to go back and teach their fellow policemen.

Task Force Shield will be visiting the academy throughout their deployment, advising their partners and observing the newly trained IPs as they take responsibility for protecting the people of Mosul and the Ninewa province.