Iraqi National Police Gain Villagers’ Respect
By U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sam Davis and Iraqi National Police Lt. Col. Mohammed
Special to American Forces Press Service
MOSUL, Iraq, Jun. 3, 2008 The residents of Yarimjah, a neighborhood in southern Mosul, were apprehensive when Iraqi National Police officers arrived at 4 a.m. May 24. They had heard many rumors about the national police from neighbors and television.
Iraqi National Police Col. Fasial Majed Muhsen listens to concerns of a villager during security operations in Yarimjah, Iraq. Iraqi National Police photo by Lt. Col. Mohammed
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
What the neighborhood residents experienced was unexpected. The 2nd Battalion, 6th National Police Brigade, under the command of Col. Fasial Majed Muhsen, moved into the area with exemplary discipline and courtesy.
Fasial, a 42-year-old former Army officer, and his men rapidly searched every building within the neighborhood for illegal weapons and terrorists while minimizing the disruption to the residents.
"The important thing is to create trust between the national police and the people and is as important as capturing insurgents and criminals," said Fasial, who also explained he did not conduct this operation to rob or intimidate the local citizens, but rather to gain their willing support.
"To accomplish this, I must have professional policemen and officers," Faisal said, adding that he requires each member of the unit to treat citizens with respect and dignity.
Fasial further explained that he does not tolerate any misconduct by his men and will fire those who are involved in the slightest offense. This sets a high moral climate for his unit, he said.
The villagers complimented Faisal's methods.
"They treat us like brothers, and the national police are the best force that has come into this area," said resident Abd Al Muhsin Moustafa.
Fasial shared his philosophy toward the residents.
"We are the sons of our country, and we are speaking Arabic. We are Iraqis, and this is an Iraqi force, and we work for Iraq," he said. "The state gives us money to protect you, and we came to help you. You are the masters, and we are the servants."
Under the watchful eye of the national police, Yarimjah is peaceful, and children play alongside the policemen. Faisal's approach appears to have made a positive impression on adults and children. Saeed Aziz Omron, standing beside his young son, made that clear.
"If you asked my son, he would join the national police right now," he said.
"The national police has proven itself again as we continue to build relationships with the Iraqi citizens and respect their human rights," Staff Maj. Gen. Hussein Jasim Mohammed al-Awadi, commander of the Iraqi National Police, said during a visit to Yarimjah.
(U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sam Davis serves with Headquarters National Police Transition Team, and Lt. Col. Mohammed is the deputy public affairs officer for the Iraqi National Police.)