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Iraqi Police assume control of parolees

6 Jan 2009 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Iraqi Police in Rawah assumed responsibility for the parole of nine former Coalition Force detainees Dec. 28.

Marines with 4th Platoon, Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, provided overwatch for this Iraqi Police-run operation and said the Iraqis proved themselves to be capable and professional during the transfer.

“We were tasked with security in order to ensure the safe and proper release of detainees.  Iraqi authorities are here to gather information and see these men off into the community,” explained 1stLt. Robert Paulus, 25, 4th Plt. commander. “Our time in Iraq is finite and this is their country. With our efforts to develop (Iraqi Security Forces), one of the key indicators is their ability to parole and reintegrate former detainees.”

The release is a priority for the Iraqi government and came days before the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) took effect.  The SOFA establishes legal standing for U.S. troops in Iraq and their departure from the country by December 2011.

“We are completely capable with our security and our judicial system to take on the challenge of these detainees,” said Capt. Fil Amer Abdrazq, an Iraqi Police officer in Rawah. “Like any judicial process, these men have served their sentence and are being processed through our stations before they return to the community and their families.”

As the detainees left the hands of their Marine escorts, they were welcomed by Iraqi Police and government officials.

“As soon as we made the transfer, (Iraqi Police) removed the hand cuffs and blind folds and welcomed the (former) detainees,” said Sgt. Jeffery Rapp, 26, a squad leader with 4th Platoon. “The police invited families, and compared to other releases, Iraqis welcomed the men back to the community. It is now up to the Iraqi Police to protect and keep an eye on the men.”

“We are sufficiently able to handle investigations, interrogations, intelligence and the judicial process when handling the detainees,” Abdrazq conveyed through an interpreter.

These skills are critical to the community’s security and governance process and help to legitimize the independence Iraqis have assumed from the Coalition Forces in the area.

“It is vital that (Iraqis) develop these skills now while we are still here with all the necessary advice and guidance,” explained Paulus, a Hudson, Ohio native. “We take a back seat to their handling of former detainees, increasing their ability to be self-sufficient.” 

Rawah authorities’ lead role in security of the former detainees demonstrated their control of the judicial and security services in their community.

“The process is working,” said Rapp, a native of Norwood, Mass. “Rawah is secure and peaceful, which results from the efforts of the (Iraqi Police).”

Coalition Forces have confidence in the Iraqi Police in the area, and the Iraqi Police have confidence in themselves.

“We are confident,” commented Abdrazq, “that the release of the detainees is not detrimental to the successes we’ve had over the last couple of years.”