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FALLUJAH, Iraq (Sept. 11, 2008) – 1st Lt. Joseph Berg, platoon commander, 2nd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines talks to Major Abdullah Khalil Jabbar, Iraqi Police chief in the Jolan District of Fallujah here, Sept. 10. Operating independently for about a month now, the Iraqi Police (IP) in the Jolan District of Fallujah are successfully meeting the challenge to stand on their own as a police force. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle) (RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle

Iraqi Police part with Company K to run independently

11 Sep 2008 | Cpl. Chris Lyttle

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Sept. 11, 2008) – Operating independently for about a month now, the Iraqi Police (IP) in the Jolan District of Fallujah are successfully meeting the challenge to stand on their own as a police force.

Company K, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines recently completed the unpartnering process in Jolan to allow IPs to operate independently and to improve community relations with the local populace.

The unpartnering process came in steps, as the company gradually transitioned out of the old joint security station (JSS) in the northwest corner of Fallujah. The Marines have now moved on to the outskirts at one of the city’s entry control points (ECP), where they remain available in tactical overwatch as a backstop for IP operations.

“We unpartnered and kept a joint combat operations center there,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Berg, platoon commander, 2nd Platoon. “We did that for about two weeks and then completely moved out.”

Since the battalion’s arrival, Berg and his Marines have helped the IPs incorporate a bona fide police establishment with a chain of command, duty delegations and specific staff sections. Berg said it replicates the Marine Corps staff structure with personnel, intelligence, operations and logistics sections, but it is “tailored to their specifications.”

“We established the sections, the staff and noncommissioned officers (SNCO/NCO), which started back in May,” Berg said. “We worked through that about four months ago and we’ve just been developing those SNCOs and NCOs into subordinate leaders so that Major Abdullah Khalil Jabbar (Jolan police chief) can task them to run patrols and manage the individual sections. It made the transition a lot smoother because after we pulled out, they had their chain of command to fall back on.”

Berg said the company carefully planned to unpartner with the JSS at the beginning of the battalion’s deployment.

“It’s time for them to have their independence,” Berg said. “It’s time for them to figure out the logistical aspect of things and to work through their chain of command in order to get resources like diesel fuel. That’s one of the reasons why Major Khalil was apprehensive at first, because he knew that us unpartnering also meant a lot of the resources would also be pulled away. But he understands the intentions behind it. In order for us to eventually leave this country, the unpartnering has to happen and stages have to occur. So he thinks it’s good. It shows progress and he’s also able to work a little more independently without us living there.”

During the company’s stay at the JSS, Berg worked with Khalil on a daily basis. With less assistance from Coalition Forces, Berg described his confidence in having the IP station succeed.

“Major Khalil is an intelligent man and he’s totally capable of doing things on his own,” Berg said. “The joint patrols we had before set them up for success in the future, and now we see them going out with multiple elements and doing things on their own.”

Berg said he now meets with the police chief periodically to monitor the station’s progress. For Marine and IP operations, Berg said IPs will still use Marines for support during foot patrols through the city.

“The IPs took the helm of patrols by leading or taking the point (front),” Berg said. “Again, the Marines are just there to give them the appropriate rudder steers and make sure they’re implementing those skills that we have taught them.”

Berg pointed out that the Marines acknowledge the IPs’ efforts and progress.

“With the unpartnering, they’ve become more reliant upon themselves,” Berg said. “I’ve seen a lot more growth after the unpartnering than in the entire deployment. What we did earlier in the deployment set us up for success now. Since we anticipated the unpartnering, they’ve been able to figure things out themselves. I think they have made a lot of progress with their professionalism since we’ve been here. They’re better at the way they operate and they have more initiative.”

The company has measured the IPs’ progress not only through their own assessments, but through the local residents’ feedback. Berg said his Marines conducted census patrols throughout the deployment to gather the local opinion about IPs.

“We went around and monitored this theater on census patrols,” Berg said. “In May, when we asked people if the IPs were ready to unpartner and if they felt they had confidence in them to provide adequate security, the answer outstandingly was no. In the later months, the populous found more trust and confidence with the IPs, seeing that they are doing more independent operations and leading the Marines on patrol. Now when we go out and ask them will the IPs be able to provide security for them, the answer outstandingly is yes. The populace is truly confident in the IPs and the progress made in the last few months. They have full trust and confidence in their IPs and they believe they will be able to run the show when we leave.”