CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq -- A class of 30 Iraqi recruits graduated from Camp Al Asad's first Iraqi Border and Police Academies.
The first graduation was held July 17, when 15 IP Officers graduated. Two days later, another 15 recruits graduated from the Iraqi Border Police Academy.
The academies were the first of their kind for western Iraq.
The Iraqi Police Academy was a four-week course, taught by the Marines with Regimental Combat Team 7's military police detachment. The course was nearly a month long
"We introduced them to ethics, code of conduct, and how to have discipline as an Iraqi police officer," said Lance Cpl. Hans S. Comprix, a 24-year-old academy instructor from Columbus, Ohio.
The IP also practiced training in urban areas as well as skills in martial arts, vehicle searches, patrols and officer survival skills.
"They were a little slow at first and were not prepared for what was coming to them," Comprix explained. "But now you can tell the difference. They've made a hundred percent improvement. These guys will be more ready than the average police officer."
Eight instructors were picked to teach the Iraqi policemen the proper training they needed in order to survive on the streets.
"You can tell they do want to do something for their country," Comprix said. "I appreciate them for what they are doing. They put the effort to better themselves."
Once the policemen return back to their units, they will pass on the knowledge they gained from the academy.
"All IP's are supposed to be instructors back in their units once they leave here," Comprix said.
"I will teach my fellow comrades what I have learned from this academy," said Dawood Salman, a 26-year-old graduate of the Iraqi Police Academy from Baghdaddy, Iraq. "I can be an example for other IP's and encourage them to attend."
A mirror image to the Iraqi Police Academy, the Iraqi Border Police Academy was taught by Marines from 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion's Company B and began July 8.
Five Marine instructors taught the volunteer recruits a variety of basic policing skills including weapons handling, vehicle checkpoints, convoy operations and search and seizure methods.
"The ten-day course served its purpose," said 1st Sgt. Octaviano Gallegos Jr., the 37-year-old company first sergeant from Las Cruces, N.M. "They knew a little when they came here but now that we taught them they have many tools to choose from. I think we are making a difference one class at a time."
Both academies also introduced the basic fundamentals of first aid to both groups of Iraqi officers. They trained to care for gunshot wounds and other emergency situations.
"I was surprised how good they grasped the class," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason L. Marnne, a 22-year-old hospital corpsman from Kingman, Ariz. "There will always be some who will have a little trouble but the majority will do an outstanding job."
The western borders of Iraq have been a problem area for Multinational Forces. Terrorists cross the borders, supplying men and equipment used to attack and attempt to destroy the country's track to stabilization.
"These are the guys that are going to be guarding the Iraqi borders making sure no insurgents or infiltrators cross the borders," Marnne said.
According to Capt. Carlos T. Jackson, the commander of Company B and officer-in-charge of the academy, training courses will continue to grow as the weeks go on. Every 10 days, a new batch of volunteer recruits will enter the camp to become Iraqi Border Policemen.
"I think once they have the right skills they'll be able to patrol the borders as well as we do," said 31-year-old Jackson from Detroit. "They know the language and the people, so it will be easier for them to identify the bad guys. All they need is proper training and equipment."