August 26th, 2007 08:38 EST
The Iraqi police walk through Rahhiliyah
The Iraqi police walk through Rahhiliyah, AK-47 assault rifles held at the ready as they conduct a patrol through the streets. A four-way intersection stands in their path and they begin to move across it. One of the officers crosses the street without pulling security and an instructor from the Ramadi Training Center steps in and explains what he did wrong.
The Iraqi and American instructors from the Ramadi Training Center, ran by 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, went mobile Aug. 6 to Aug. 13 to train the Iraqi Police of Rahhiliyah.
“They are real, real receptive to the training,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Dragoo, a Ramadi
Training Center instructor assigned to 1-41 FA. “I think one of the key things is every police officer here is from this town so they care about the town … therefore they are all motivated to learn.”
About 140 officers graduated from the course, but during the training the officers still had a job to do, so they averaged about 100 students a day. Not all of the trainees are Iraqi Police, but are trying to join the police force. They still participated in the training, so if they are hired, they will have the training.
“The police still had to work as the training was going on, so one day they may have one officer, and the next he would be swapped out with someone who was on duty the day prior,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Bergman, Ramadi Training Center platoon instructor assigned to 1-41.
The police marched to the training site each morning where they received classes, focusing on ethics and rule of law then moved onto basic marksmanship, reflexive fire, basic patrol tactics, reacting to improvised explosive devices and room clearing.
The training moved from the classroom to the streets as they practiced what they were taught. Doors opened as people peeked out to watch the officers moving through the city, rehearsing the tactics they may one day have to employ.
“Not only can they train, but they can go back to their house at night,” Bergman said. “When they conduct their dismounted patrols, they are moving through their own neighborhoods.”
During one class, the instructors told them the proper way to cross a dangerous intersection and when to use it during a dismounted patrol. As they practiced on the streets, they applied those tactics for the first half of the patrol.
The instructors realize there will be mistakes along the way and walk among them, correcting them and providing instant feedback.
They stopped after three blocks and went over what the police had done well and how they could improve.
“We explained to them it’s not only knowing how to do it, but when to apply it,” Bergman said. “When they were going out and doing the danger crossing all of the time, they got pretty tired and said, ‘I don’t want to do this all of the time,’ so they learned when to use it and when not to. As we came back, it was totally smooth.”
The training evolves over time to match the changing situation in Iraq to better prepare the policemen for what they could face.
“The training is important because this is exactly what they do. We tailor our training program to what they are doing (on the streets),” Dragoo said. “It never stays the same for months on end. The enemy evolves new TTPs, so we get those TTPs, and we learn how to counteract them and that’s what we teach these guys.”
One aspect that has changed from when Bergman and Dragoo began teaching at the training center is the incorporation of Iraqi instructors from the ranks of the Ramadi police.
The U.S. Soldiers’ knowledge forms the core for what the Iraqi police are taught, but the Iraqi instructors bring with them the knowledge of how the job is done at the station.
“They may use different hand signals on the street, and the (Iraqi) instructors can say, ‘These are the hand signals we use on patrol,’” Bergman said. “If we start from the beginning using hand signals they use in Ramadi, it clarifies things a lot. It makes the transition from training to actually working at their IP station very smooth.”
The week ended for the Iraqi police with them having a better understanding on how to be a police officer, and through that, they gained the tools to better safeguard their town.
Source: Staff Sgt. Raymond Piper