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One Iraqi Police Class Graduates, Another Reports for Training

American Forces Press Service

RAMADI, Iraq, March 25, 2006 – One newly graduated 196-member Iraqi police unit returned here for duty yesterday, while another group -- about 220 Iraqi police recruits -- left here and arrived safely at the Baghdad Iraqi Police Basic Training Academy yesterday.

The Iraqi police unit, made up of 196 Iraqis known as the Sons of al Anbar, successfully graduated from the Baghdad Police Academy on March 23. This Iraqi police class left Ramadi for the Baghdad Police Academy on Jan. 13, and they represent the first trained group of Iraqi police officers to graduate and secure the neighborhoods of Ramadi, a former insurgent stronghold.

"We are the future of Iraq, each and every one of us. We believe in our cause," said a newly appointed Iraqi policeman, as he stepped off the bus at the Ramadi Glass Factory, where the policemen were greeted by Iraqi army and coalition forces yesterday. "The conditions we are living in now, with the insurgency and terrorist around us, is no way to live life. We will make a difference for our sons and daughters."

General Sha'aban Muhammed Samier, the Anbar provincial police chief, made it a priority to personally welcome the Sons of al Anbar back to the city. "The Iraqi police has been established to protect the people of this province, and the citizens are supporting the Iraqi police force," he said. "The Iraqi police must be successful in order to ensure safety for our elderly, our young children, our women and our families."

In the coming days, these Iraqi police graduates will be measured for their uniforms and will receive work boots, individual body armor and weapons. They will also receive more training to introduce them to patrolling the neighborhoods of Ramadi.

"When the buses pulled in this morning, I walked up to the first bus, opened the bus door and welcomed home the Sons of al Anbar," said U.S. Army Capt. Roger Churchwell, the Iraqi police liaison for the 2nd Battalion, 28th Brigade Combat Team. "To me, opening that bus door signified opening the door to their futures, and a new start for the Iraqi police to create a stable and secure environment for their fellow citizens of Iraq."

Meanwhile, the newly recruited group completed the final stage of initial processing in early March.

"I signed up to be an Iraqi policeman so that Iraq can become free and secure from the insurgency," one recruit said as he waited in the academy's processing line. "Once we return to take care of the streets of Ramadi, the American forces can reduce their presence in the city."

Officials said dedicated efforts from local Ramadi community leaders, government officials, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces resulted in the large number of police recruits needed to secure the streets of Ramadi.

"I receive a lot of self-satisfaction in helping to rebuild the Iraqi police force in Al Anbar," Churchwell said.

"We are securing the future of Ramadi and making history at the same time. We currently have over 900 Iraqi policemen going through the IP training academies in Baghdad and Jordan, and this group will take us over 1,100. A few months ago achieving these numbers was just a dream, and the dream has become reality."

More Iraqi police candidates are scheduled to attend training academies in April and May. The 220 new policemen will begin their 10 weeks of training at the Baghdad Police College.

(Based on Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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