RUTBAH, Iraq --
Marines patrolling these city streets alongside Iraqi police are seeing marked improvement in enabling a self-sufficient police force.
Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, is charged with protecting Rutbah citizens and maintaining stability, and the Marines are providing security until Rutbah's police can assume city authority.
"(The Iraqis) get better and more efficient every week we patrol with them," said radio operator Cpl. Steven M. Barrientos, 22, from Bethlehem, Pa. "We had a good working patrol today, and there will be more to come."
Marines and Iraqi police have deliberately interacted with citizens while conducting these joint patrols.
"The patrols give a good picture of the Iraqi police to the civilians," said Chief Warrant Officer Mohammed Ahmid Kolef, 30, a Rutbah police patrol master.
Mike Battery is a Chattanooga, Tenn., based reserve artillery unit attached to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, as a provisional infantry element in Iraq.