Wednesday, April 25, 2007

General Phillips roundtable talk on Iraqi Police

Bloggers Roundtable w/BG David D. Phillips, Deputy CPATT Commander for an operational update from Baghdad. Wednesday 25 April 0900 Eastern There are now over 200,000 police forces (national, border, 170K police officers, patrol, investigators). The police work in their own communities rather than the national army which can be assigned to all parts of country and different communities.There is a new AAFES database for biometrics which tracks Iraqi police personnel in the national system ensuring that the prospective recruits are screened diligently to make sure they are not former regime members or criminals. The judicial process is getting refined now: computers are now being utilized where a hit coming back with positive warnings will be used for all hires. Iraqi officials make determinations under the Ministry of Interior about which personnel should be admitted once a hit comes back due to extenuating circumstances. The national forces now will bar anyone who has fought with insurgents or is against the democratic regime. All personnel have to be on the rolls of the Ministry of Interior in order to be paid. Today and in the past two weeks General Phillips has been stopping in at police stations and police headquarters. The General is noticing that traffic police are doing a much better job of keeping cars going through intersections and traffic circes and there are much more police out on the streets. Iraqi kids are now playing in soccer fields with police protection where before there were only vacant lots. Seventy five percent of the entire country has minimal coalition force assistance- mostly only IP and IA forces in those communities. They can function well on their own- the problem is that the insurgents and Al Qaeda are stronger than the police right now. When police capture someone for a criminal act, the defendant is taken into a detention holding cell at police headquarters and within 72 hours taken before a judge. The judge determines based on evidence whether they can hold him for additional investigation and subsequent trial. If there is not enough probable cause to hold the defendant then the judge will release them. Overcrowding is a problem in detention cells. This is being dealt with through the number of investigative judges growing every month and this needs to continue- there will be Baghdad General administrative buildings established to flow the process more smoothly. General Petraeus is working on this issue right now. The recent Anbar Salvation Council fhas been doing a very good job of brining in tribesmen standing up their own forces and in Abu Ghraib as well. Tribes want to bring their forces into the police force national model. Command and control has been an issue but now bringing they are bringing them in as Emergency Reaction Forces, they will be trained and the coalition is working out the links as to who controls the forces. General Odierno is working on these issues. Police Director for Al Anbar right now has command and control over these forces. Encouragint news is that a new police academy is opening up in Habbaniyah. These recruits will be paid and trained and equipped with the national force for Anbar at a local level. General Phillips is optimistic about the prognosis for Iraq in the long term. He is proud to serve with Iraqi forces and believes they are willing to serve dutifully- even Fallujah has seen dramatic progress in the last year.

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