JAZEERAH, Iraq --
Although official Provincial Iraqi Control has only recently been applied in the al Anbar Province, Iraqi Police in Jazeerah have conducted themselves as the area’s leading security force for some time.
Jazeerah police and Marines with 1st Platoon, Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, have been conducting combined security patrols in the area since the battalion’s arrival in July 2008. This partnership was in place with other battalions in the area before 1st Bn., 2nd Marines’ arrival.
Once a hot spot for terrorist weapons caches, Jazeerah is becoming a model community for the province.
From July 2006 to July 2007 there were 238 total incidents in Jazeerah, to include cache discoveries, improvised explosive devices and small arms fire.
One year later, due largely to the active nature of the Jazeerah security forces, those numbers have dropped significantly to only five cache discoveries and very few acts of violence.
As Iraqi Police and Marines patrol through the many small neighborhoods in the city, it is now the Iraqi Police dictating the pace of the operation, said Cpl. James Mohr, a 26-year-old squad leader with the platoon.
“The police know the area,” explained Mohr, a Howell, N.J., native. “They are the ones making the routes and leading the patrols.”
The city’s community has also been involved in the progress of peace.
Lance Cpl. Justin McClelland, a 22-year-old team leader with 1st Platoon, said the working relationship between the citizens and security forces is one that shows “progress in transition; when Marines are gone, there will be an efficient security force in place.”
Iraqis, acting on their own initiative, are actively and deliberately engaging the populous, he said.
McClelland also explained that the Jazeerah Iraqi Police officers’ professionalism, which is present in every aspect of their duties, is second to none.
Marines described Jazeerah as a progressively peaceful area showing signs of a formal change over.
“The police are patrolling in excess because they understand the importance of security and a relationship with the community,” said Mohr. “The community is at ease when they see the police out here.”
Iraqi Police are not only showing progress in the area of security, but in their over-all training as well, actively participating in classes including rule of law to first responder first aid.
Mohr said the Iraqi Police are eager to provide their community with security that will eventually result in the political and economic advancement of Jazeerah.
Through an increase in the proficiency of the Jazeerah Iraqi Police and their willingness to expand their knowledge, true Iraqi control is evident in Jazeerah.