Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) wait in line outside the the Furat Iraqi Police Training Facility, June 17, to start the process of becoming IP recruits. The four day recruiting drive is part of the Multi-National Division - Baghdad plan of Iraqi police expansion. Photo by Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger.
— As a sandstorm blanketed Baghdad, June 17, an estimated 2000 Iraqi citizens endured the elements to start the process of becoming Iraqi police at the Furat Iraqi Police Training Facility.
Iraqi police officials and military police Soldiers with the 18th Military Police Brigade, Multi-National Division - Baghdad set up a four-day recruiting drive at the Furat facility to reach a goal of 1300 new recruits to send to Basic Recruit Training to become IP.
“A little over 2000 civilians showed up today,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Gehri, native of Edmond, Okla., and officer in charge of the Furat IP Training Facility. “We can process through about 400 recruits a day with a total goal of 1300 recruits in four days.”
The Police Transition Team was ecstatic to see the number of civilians, who braved the weather to become IP.
“The benefit of having so many people show up today means we have a lot of hope, we see the benefit of so many people showing up despite the sandstorm,” said Gehri. “They are trying to get a job and take care of their communities and families.”
The new recruits are part of MND-B’s plan to expand the IP force.
The increase in police force is intended to strengthen the overall security of Baghdad as part of a continued Iraqi police expansion program. This program is aimed to train more than 25,000 IP recruits by 2008.
Officials say more than 22,000 police have already been deployed in the Iraqi capital as part of the first phase of expansion.
“We are getting the job done,” said Gehri, referring to IP expansion. “We are providing the amount of Iraqi security forces to provide a stable Baghdad, which is our goal.”
Gehri has been working with IP in Baghdad for nine months now and says he has seen a great improvement in the IP force since arriving.
“They are taking whatever we teach them and they are running with it,” said Gehri. “They are doing a great job.”