11th MEU screens Iraqis for IP Academy

7 Oct 2004 | Gunnery Sgt. Chago Zapata 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

More than 30 Marines, soldiers and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) screened approximately 150 law enforcement officials at the Iraqi National Guard compound here in Najaf, Iraq, Oct. 2, for admission into the Iraqi Police and Border Police academies.

Upon completion of the screening, the names of the 63 Iraqi police and 50 border police were forwarded for enrollment into their respective academies located in Baghdad, Ramadi and the country of Jordan.

Eleventh MEU personnel, to include military policemen from MEU Service Support Group 11, Navy medical personnel from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and the U.S. Army's 66th MP Company, spent more than 12 hours screening the applicants.

"It's a big goal for the IPs to go to the academy because it's the culminating objective for them to move from probationary status to fully-trained and qualified IPs," said Capt. Jeremy T. Thompson, Iraqi police liaison officer for the 11th MEU.  "At the academy graduation, they are issued their service pistols for the first time, which demonstrates their status as full-fledged officers and serves as a badge of honor for them."

Screening consisted of a physical fitness test, literacy test, medical exam, background check, security screening, hiring interview and a letter of acceptance from the Najaf IP general.  The physical fitness comprised of timed push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 1500 meter run and a 100 meter sprint. 

Applicants must also meet additional requirements set forth by the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for the Iraqi Police program.  Each candidate must be between the ages of 20 to 35, have completed secondary school, and be able to read, write and communicate in Arabic.  Candidates must denounce the Ba'ath Party and disavow any affiliation to it.  Lastly, candidates must have no history or have demonstrated no propensity to engage in violence, criminal acts, or the violation of public trust.

Iraqi police and border police who fail the initial screening for the academies still have a chance to come back at a later date and retake the screening.

"The importance of this screening process cannot be overstated," said Thompson.  "The successful selection and training of IPs and border police will directly impact the forward progress of Iraq becoming a stable and fruitful country."

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