Monday, March 24, 2008

Citizens Line Up at Tameem Recruiting Drive

Pfc. Katie Miller, a military policewoman with the 59th Military Police Company, from Fort Carson, Colo., currently attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, reviews a literacy test taken by an applicant at the Iraqi Police recruiting drive in Tameem, Iraq, March 23. (Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto)

Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, Monday, 24 March 2008

By Spc. Ben Hutto

One hundred and seventy-five Iraqi men waited for their opportunity to join the police force during a recruiting drive at the 3rd Battalion, 1st National Police Brigade headquarters in Tameem, a town southeast of Baghdad, March 22.

Prospective policemen went through a rigid screening process to find the best possible applicants, said 1st Lt. Kurt Cheeseman, from Greenwood, S.C., the targeting officer for 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. Men between the ages of 18 and 35 had to bring a national identification card, proof of intermediate education and pass a reading and writing exam, medical screening and physical fitness test. Additionally, the men were registered in the biometrics enrollment system and the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment System and interviewed by the Mada’in Qada chief of police.

“It is a very thorough process. It is a four-day event, but we have a lot of men that want to be policemen,” Cheeseman said.

The event is part of an effort to help fill the Mada’in Qada’s police ranks with former members of the Sons of Iraq. There are not yet jobs for all of the applicants, Cheeseman said.

“A good thing is,” he said, “we will have 100 applicants already processed and ready to be hired when jobs become available.”

Maj. David Guthrie, from Hampton, Va., the operations officer for 3-1 Cav. Regt., believes the recruiting drive helps both the SoI and the police force.

“I think it legitimizes both programs,” he said. “It will expand the police force with qualified candidates. These are men that have been helping protect their neighborhoods and have proven that they want to help their neighbors. People from the area will have their trust … The Sons of Iraq, in turn, see that the effort they are putting in could lead them to a better job. It really benefits everyone.”

Cheeseman was happy with the candidates’ efforts.

“They all tried very hard,” he said. “There were a lot of good efforts by the men out here. You can tell they all really want to serve the qada and help their neighborhoods.”

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

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