Kirkuk Police Force Ranks Grow by 3,000
By Staff Sgt. Margaret C. Nelson
Special to American Forces Press Service
KIRKUK, Iraq, Sep. 24, 2008 More than 3,000 Iraqis, including 58 women, joined the ranks of the Kirkuk province’s police force during a graduation ceremony held yesterday at the Kirkuk Police Academy.
Kirkuk Police Academy graduates wave their berets in celebration during a graduation ceremony Sept. 23, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Margaret C. Nelson.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Referring to the unprecedented number of graduates, Maj. Gen. Jamal Thaker Baker, the Kirkuk provincial police chief, hailed the moment as “an historic event for the people of the Kirkuk province.”
“This is the direct result of the combined efforts of our coalition friends and the Ministry of the Interior,” Baker said.
Baker pointed out the number of high-ranking Multinational Division North leaders in the audience, including U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commanding general, MND-North; Brig. Gen. James C. Boozer Sr., deputy commanding general-operations MND-North; Brig. Gen. Tony Thomas, assistant division commander-support MND-North; and Col. David Paschal, commander, 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.
Baker said he considers these men to be among a unique brotherhood. He credited the recent gains in security throughout the province to this brotherhood, whose main concern is for the people of the Kirkuk province and providing “security and stability in this region for them.”
During the ceremony, police academy instructors carried a wreath in remembrance of members of the police force who died in the line of duty.
In his remarks, Iraqi Brig. Gen. Kawa Garib Abdul-Rahman, commandant of the police academy, said the sacrifices of the police force’s martyrs would never be forgotten and that their dedication to maintaining peace and providing security to the people of the Kirkuk province would be continued in the efforts of the newest members of the police force.
(Staff Sgt. Margaret C. Nelson works in the public affairs office of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division).