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Diyala Meeting Outlines Strategies to Improve Iraqi Police Force

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2007 – Iraqi and U.S. military leaders in Iraq’s Diyala province met yesterday with local and district police chiefs to discuss strategies to further professionalize the police force as it works to maintain security.

Iraqi Staff Maj. Gen. Ghanem Abass Ibraham al Qureshy, Diyala's provincial director of police; Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding officer in charge of operations for Multinational Division North; and Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala province, led the meeting at the province's police headquarters in Baqouba.

“The future of Diyala is in your hands," Sutherland said as he addressed the Iraqi police leadership. “The people need to look at the army and police as the future of Diyala - multiple families, tribes and sects working together as one to represent their neighborhoods."

Ghanem's plan includes nine key elements to uphold his vision. That vision involves “a credible police force capable of performing all police operations independent of coalition forces in an ethical and patriotic manner," he said.

“We have not yet defeated our common enemy," Bednarek said. “But every one of you must believe that together, we will defeat our adversary. We must be committed in this fight together."

Some of Ghanem's nine priorities include a professional force able to uphold the rule of law, policemen trained by an Iraqi police academy and a force free from corruption that is willing to stand and fight.

Additionally, he wants a leadership that motivates police to take initiative and execute duties with respect, a force that conducts regular training and conducts readiness assessments of their skills, and policemen representative of their neighborhoods and the people of Diyala.

“The people who join the ranks of the police force must be the right people with the right reason," Bednarek said. “The right reason to become a professional force is for the people of Diyala."

“You are the fighters," Sutherland said. “The police are the melting pot of this society and must be representative of its people."

Following discussions of the priorities for Diyala's Iraqi police force, the police chiefs discussed issues within their districts and worked toward solutions to become a better-trained and -equipped force.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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