Iraqi Police Positively Affecting Security, Officials Say
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2004 Iraq's new police force is making noticeable contributions to the security environment in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country, senior U.S. officials told reporters in Baghdad today.
"Clearly the presence of Iraqi police on the front lines -- walking the patrols, addressing the problems -- is having an effect" on improving security across Iraq, Dan Senor, senior spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, noted at a Baghdad press briefing.
Today, Senor pointed out, more than 60,000 Iraqi police officers are on duty across the country, with about 4,000 police patrolling Baghdad.
Senor credits the Baghdad police for a 39 percent decline in that city's crime rate during the last two months. Basra's crime rate, he added, has dropped 70 percent during the same time span.
Those results, however, did not come without cost, noted Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director of Combined Joint Task Force 7, who accompanied Senor at the press conference.
"Over 270 Iraqi policemen have died in the line of duty since May," the general pointed out.
Such dedication to duty and sacrifice, Kimmitt declared, demonstrates that Iraqi police are "willing to put their lives on the line every day for the public security" of their country.