Jordan Aids in Iraqi Police Training
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
AMMAN, Jordan, Mar. 18, 2005 Insurgents target Iraqi police for a reason: The police represent a democratic, free Iraq governed by laws and not the whim of dictators.
That's why the training Iraqi police cadets receive at the International Police Training Center here is so important. The police are Iraqi citizens' first line of defense against the terrorists, but the police must have the skills to survive in what is still a battleground.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers visited the facility March 17 and observed some of the more than 3,400 cadets going through a revamped course.
The intensive three-week course concentrates on the skills these Iraqi men will need to patrol and police Iraq, said John C. Mosbey, the director of the Jordan International Police Training Center.
The director told Myers that the performance of the police pointed to the fact that the training had to be changed. While considerable time and money went into training the police in the past, the instruction was not effective. The curriculum was based on the model used in Bosnia and Kosovo - far different environments from that in Iraq. That model was a post-conflict model. With the growth of the insurgency, it soon became apparent that Iraq was not in a post-conflict phase, and the Kosovo model was just not going to work.
When Muqtada al-Sadr's militias rose up in April 2004, some police stood firm, but a far greater number deserted or would not respond to calls for assistance.
That model was heavy on classroom instruction and light on practical demonstrations. The new model totally reverses that - 75 percent of the instruction is hands-on and only 25 percent takes place in the classroom. These modules include how to conduct searches and how to conduct traffic stops and checkpoints. How to arrest suspected terrorists and how to identify improvised explosive devices are other portions of the new syllabus. "We teach less, but what we teach, we teach better," Mosbey said.
The local nature of the cop on the beat does complicate the effort. That has worked to the insurgents' advantage. "It's one thing to defy terrorists if it is just yourself," said a British police inspector. "It is something else when they threaten to kill your entire family."
And that is what the insurgents try to do. Even today, reporters traveling to the course cannot take pictures of the faces of the Iraqi cadets. Insurgents intimidate Iraqi police with direct threats of violence on their families.
The course tries to address this also. Part of the instruction gives the cadets coping strategies to deal with this problem.
The instruction effort is truly international. Jordan provides the bulk of the people, with 400 employees. More than 300 instructors from 16 other countries also are working here to train the Iraqi police.