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Military police officers ensure their Iraqi counterparts enforce the law

10 Sep 2004 | Cpl. Matthew R. Jones

The Marines with the Military Police, Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, conducted a check of the Obaidy Police Station Sept. 10 to ensure that the Iraqi Police Officers are completing missions to further the security of Iraq.

"It is important for the Iraqis to get their security up, and we are here to provide as much support as possible," said Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Mainiello, 22, military policeman and native of Ebensburg, Pa.

The Marines of Company B train Iraqi Police Officers at the Iraqi Police Academy at Al Qaim.  Once the recruits graduate from the academy and begin to patrol the mean streets of Iraq, the Marines will continue to support the IP.

Part of this support comes in the form of routine visits to the police stations.  The Marines try to visit each of the three police stations in their area of responsibility at least once a week. 

"We are here to support the leadership of the IP in any way needed or until they are able to take control and support themselves," said Sgt. Ronald E. Liston, 40, platoon sergeant and native of Pittsburg.

"We go to make sure the IPs are doing their job and not just collecting a paycheck," said Sgt. Earl K. Hall, patrol leader.

The visits have made their intended impact on the new officers.  During recent visits, the Marines have noticed more patrols and a larger police force than before. 

"When we got here, posts were not manned and now they are," said Hall.

Once the Marines reached the police station, they met with the police chief.  They discussed problems and solutions for the station.  They also passed information on future opportunities that the Marines would be offering to new recruits, current police officers and the leadership of the police station.

"We also host leadership forums for the police chiefs," said Liston.

Once inside the station, the Marines take inventory of the stations armory.

"We have a serialized list of the weapons they are supposed to have, I take inventory of them as well as the ammunition on hand," said Cpl. Patrick R. Thornton, 23, of Bellwood, Pa. 

These Marines, many of whom are police officers back in the states, are tasked with other missions as well.

On their way back from the police station, the Marines encountered a car stopped on the side of the road with three men hunkered behind the car.

"We searched the vehicle to ensure that they were not planting an (Improvised Explosive Device)," said Hall. "Today, we escorted detainees that were being released, that was the first time we had done something like that, but it went well." 

"The Marines make it look routine, but it is dangerous ever time we go out," said Gunnery Sgt. James J. McGinly, 41, a native of Pittsburg.