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Samarra Police train with international police officers

Officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion react to a gunman during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base
                                    Seven in December. The officers were preparing to take over policing duties in the city of Samarra at the end of the month.
                                    They were being trained by military and civilian officials, including George Clark, an international police officer and Philadelphia
                                    resident who played the role of the gun-wielding terrorist. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)
Officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion react to a gunman during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base Seven in December. The officers were preparing to take over policing duties in the city of Samarra at the end of the month. They were being trained by military and civilian officials, including George Clark, an international police officer and Philadelphia resident who played the role of the gun-wielding terrorist. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SEVEN, Iraq As the lone terrorist approached the Samarra Police checkpoint, an officer ordered the man to halt. But he ignored the command, drew a pistol and pointed it at the officers.

Immediately, several of the policemen pointed their weapons at him as they surrounded the man. Had they been soldiers, the officers would have been within their rights to shoot the man as dictated by the rules of engagements.

However, these are peace officers who are trained to use force as a last resort. So they wrestled him to the ground and took the pistol from him, foiling his plot to kill coalition forces and innocent civilian.

This was merely a training exercise. But the 13 noncommissioned police officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion know they will face similar situations when patrolling the streets of Samarra in a few weeks.

Their execution was excellent, said George Clark, an international police officer and a Philadelphia resident who played the role of the terrorist. I chose to be the terrorist because of the language barrier, and they had to think outside of the box. Its all about reacting in a timely fashion and they did that well.

Officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion detainee practice detaining techniques during a training exercise at
                                    Forward Operating Base Seven in December. The officers were preparing to take over policing duties in the city of Samarra
                                    at the end of the month. They were being trained by military and civilian officials, including George Clark, an international
                                    police officer and Philadelphia resident who played the role of the detainee. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)
Officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion detainee practice detaining techniques during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base Seven in December. The officers were preparing to take over policing duties in the city of Samarra at the end of the month. They were being trained by military and civilian officials, including George Clark, an international police officer and Philadelphia resident who played the role of the detainee. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)

Iraqi police was in charge of keeping order in Samarra in recent months. But nearly the entire force resigned because officers were threatened by rebels. As a result, the city has been without a police force for the past few months, said Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Jelen, the second brigades S5 and Iraqi forces noncommissioned officer in charge.

So city officials tapped 170 officers from the 3rd POB to form a police force that will relieve coalition forces so they can concentrate on protecting the city from insurgents, Jelen said.

During the two week training, the officers will learn first aid, vehicle and personnel search, marksmanship and the like, Jelen said. They will also drive around the city with members of the Iraqi army a few hours a day to get familiar with the routes.

Sgt. Maj. Ali Kadhim held the same rank in the old Iraqi Army. He said the training he and his men are receiving from the Americans has been valuable.

There are stark differences in the American style of training and that of Saddam Husseins army, he said. For instance, the Americans teach that citizens be treated with dignity and respect, and no one is above the law, Kadhim said.

Police officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion train on detaining prisoners at a makeshift check point at Forward
                                    Operating Base Seven in December. The officers were to begin policing the city of Samarra at the end of the month. They were
                                    being trained by military and civilian officials, include George Clark, an international police officer and Philadelphia resident
                                    who played the role of the detainee. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)
Police officers from the 3rd Public Order Battalion train on detaining prisoners at a makeshift check point at Forward Operating Base Seven in December. The officers were to begin policing the city of Samarra at the end of the month. They were being trained by military and civilian officials, include George Clark, an international police officer and Philadelphia resident who played the role of the detainee. (Photo by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)

Additionally, in the old army, superiors ruled with iron fists. As a sergeant major, he had no power and was unable to express his thoughts, and superiors mistreated the subordinates, he said.

Now, soldiers and police officers treat each other with respect and display a level of professionalism that was non-existent in the past, Kadhim said. He also likes the fact that he now has the freedom to say what he wants and hes learned to deal with all kinds of people, he said.

The 3rd POB officers are the most disciplined Iraqi security forces Jelen and Clark have ever worked with, both men said. The officers are continuously prompt and their morale is high.

Also, their uniforms are always up to standards and they take their training seriously and seem to be sincere about helping build a democratic Iraq, Jelen said.

I see that the Iraqis are starting to make a difference, he said. They are getting tired of the enemy, and once their forces are up, they can take over and we can go home. (Story by Spc. Ismail Turay Jr., 196th MPAD)


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