AL ASAD, Iraq -- More than 200 Iraqi police officers completed a two-week police academy class with a ‘pass-in-review’ June 27 in a secluded spot in the Al Anbar Province of western Iraq. The class, designed for current Iraqi police officers, provides instruction in, among other things, tactics, techniques and procedures that can be employed in overcoming some of the unique challenges they will face in the ongoing effort to rid the country of insurgents.
According to Chief Warrant Officer Scott Reinhardt, the director of the border and police academies here, “the class is advanced training given to every police officer upon completion of the eight-week basic course. They receive advanced firearms training and apply what they have learned in basic training to real life scenarios through the use of practical exercises. They also learn how to run a police station and respond to emergencies and other calls. It is not as much refresher training as it is advanced training.”
The reviewing officer for the ‘pass-in-review’ was Col. Kent W. Bradford, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s division liaison officer.
The formation of Iraqi men came to a halt at the academy’s American and Iraqi flagpoles. There, in the waning heat of an Iraqi afternoon, the class formally graduated.
Reinhardt spoke briefly to the class before introducing Bradford, who had some words of advice and encouragement for the men who were about to return to their posts in the cities of Iraq.
“It is written ‘God will raise-up strong men in difficult times’, I believe you are the strong men God is raising up for Iraq,” began Bradford.
Bradford, not only a Marine with 26 years of service, but also a former police officer, challenged the graduates to serve with pride and honor despite the difficult times which are sure to lie ahead. He focused on the unique ‘strength’ a police officer must possess for the challenges they will face.
Bradford, in describing the difference between a police officer and other men asked, “Is it the gun that makes you strong?”
He quickly answered, “No, many men have guns but are not police officers.”
He went on to tell them that it was not physical strength, “many men have big muscles but they are not police officers,” said Bradford.
Nor will the strength required come from superior wisdom or knowledge, “many men are intelligent but they are not police officers.”
A litany of physical attributes was mentioned, all factors, but Bradford was quick to point out that it is not physical characteristics that are the defining qualities that make a man a police officer. “A police officer must have moral strength,” Bradford told the graduates.
Such responsibility demands a commitment to law and its equitable application. “You must take an oath to put the welfare of other men before your own.” It does not matter whether a man is a foreigner, or comes from a different country or from a different city, another tribe or even claims another faith – he must be treated justly, said Bradford.”
“All men must be equal in the eyes of a police officer. You must have moral strength.”
These men will soon be back at their stations throughout Iraq, better equipped to face the myriad of challenges they will surely encounter as the country drives on to a free and bright future for her people.