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Marines outfit Rasheed police station

19 Aug 2004 | Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

Five blue and white vehicles paraded down the highway here recently, interspersed with US military humvees.  It wasn't a raid or a joint patrol, though. It was a special delivery.

The vehicles were given to the Rasheed police department by 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment Aug. 18 to aid in their duties.

"It was a smooth mission overall but there was a lot involved in getting the vehicles to the police department," said Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Kelly, assistant team leader of the civil affairs group here.  "Ultimately, we hope the vehicles benefit both the Marines and the police force."

Ten vehicles altogether changed hands between Baghdad and Kalsu.  The battalion's CAG unit, which is responsible for the police departments in the area, traveled to Kalsu to pick up the four sedans and one SUV.

"We hit a (roadside bomb) on the way down there but other than that it was uneventful," said Kelly, a 34-year-old from Arroyo, Calif.

Five of the vehicles went to the Rasheed police department. The other five will be dispersed between Mahmudiyah and Ladafiyah police departments. 

"We gave five of the vehicles to Rasheed because right now they have the capability to patrol and get outside the police station," said Maj. Robert J. Derocher, the CAG team leader. 

The chief of police signed for the vehicles. He also assured the Marines the vehicles would be properly utilized, as the police force is still learning the new way of running things.

"Now that they have these vehicles they'll be able to respond to calls in their area and assist the Iraqi National Guard if they need help," Kelly said.

There are no plans at the present time for additional vehicles. However, additional requests can be submitted, added Derocher, 36, of Riverside, Calif.

The police officers were happy to see the vehicles and inspected them when they arrived by discovering which dial did what on their new equipment.

"The cars are outfitted with police radios and sirens," Kelly said.  "The Iraqis were excited about getting them. You could see it on their faces."

One police officer took a vehicle for a spin around the parking lot, testing its turning capabilities.  When he was satisfied he parked it next to their new fleet of cars and smiled.

"These cars mean they'll actually be able to go out on patrol.  There's no reason for them not to now," said John Chapman, 61, of Joshua, Texas.  Chapman brings 15 years working for various police and sheriff's departments to the team as an International Police Officer.  He works as a liaison to the police departments in the district.

"They're nice cars ... we expect good things out of them," he added.