Alabama National Guard trains Iraqi police

Sgt. Matthew Glassford supervises a training exercise. (Photo courtesy DVIDS, Photo by Sgt. Rebekah Lampman))
Sgt. Matthew Glassford supervises a training exercise. (Photo courtesy DVIDS, Photo by Sgt. Rebekah Lampman))

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq (WBRC) – A Birmingham National Guard unit has been assigned to training highway patrol forces in Iraq.

A press release issued on Tuesday revealed that the 217th Military Police Company from Birmingham is in charge of training Iraqi Highway Patrol officers and making sure they follow proper procedure. For the past six months, the MPs have been assisting 16 IHP officers from seven Iraqi police stations in Baghdad as they conduct a variety of training events.

"We don't have bombs or improvised explosive devices back in the states so it's challenging," said Sgt. Matthew Glassford, an MP with the 217th and a deputy sheriff in Shelby County, Ala. "When we train we have to go into more details, but the basics are still the same."

"You can see that they take the training to heart," said 2nd Lt. Joseph Bennett, a platoon leader with the 217th MP Company. "They really enjoy the hands on portion of the training more than the classroom. When we get to that part of the training they really seem to shine."

The unit will continue to conduct exercises for several weeks and will eventually perform ride-alongs with the IHP in Baghdad.

"For the 217th, all of the hard work they've done for us, we will not fail," said Brig. Gen. Muhamed Kutafa Mashlesh, commander of the seven Iraqi police stations involved in the training. "We will not forget what they have shown us and we will be better for our country and our people," he said.

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