Iraqi Policemen stand in formation during their graduation ceremony Feb. 2 from the Iraqi Police Academy at Camp Fiji in Baghdad. More than 490 new policemen graduated from the academy and will soon begin patrolling the streets of Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James P. Hunter)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Feb. 8, 2008) — More than 490 Iraqis demonstrated their readiness and willingness to protect and serve their fellow Iraqis as they graduated from the Camp Fiji Iraqi Police Training Facility in Baghdad Feb. 2.
Of the graduates, more than 260 are slated to patrol through the Mansour District of Baghdad, in Ameriyah, Adil, Khadra and Jamia.
When Iraqi leaders and Coalition Forces began recruiting men to join the Sons of Iraq (formerly known as Concerned Local Citizens), they hoped these men would eventually go through the Iraqi Police Academy to join in the mission of securing Baghdad as a legitimate security force. The Feb. 2 graduate class has fulfiiled that hope.
“These men were former CLCs and are now police officers working for the Ministry of Interior and the Government of Iraq,” said Tennessee native Capt. Marcus Vartan, with Multi-National Division – Baghdad’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “They are the first class of CLCs to become IPs. They will be followed by many of their other CLC brothers in the near future.”
The recent graduates went through a two-week course at Camp Fiji. This course was taught by 20 Iraqi police instructors from the Iraqi Provincial Directorate of Police and five instructors from the Civilian Police Assistance Transition Team. Students learned basic law enforcement, weaponry, combative techniques and first aid, while also concentrating on the appropriate values, ethics and guidance on human rights.
“I observed them in first aid classes and in making a felony traffic stop,” Vartan said. “I was most impressed with their superb discipline and high degree of motivation.”