Coalition Forces and Iraqi Police Team Up on Reconstruction Project

Blackanthem Military News, BAYJI, Iraq, April 22, 2006 9:38

 

Deputy Police Chief Lt. Col. Al Qaisie (left) and one of his assistants (middle) discusses the construction project currently underway at the Iraqi Police Headquarters in Bayji with the projects liaison through an interpreter(right).  (U.S. Army photo.)

The Joint Communications Center and main Bayji Police Station have gotten a facelift with the help of Coalition Forces and the Iraqi local populace.

Soldiers, including Army Corps of Engineers, Civil Affairs and Military Police are all working together with U.S. civilian police liaisons, a local construction contractor and officers from the Bayji Police Department to make the project happen for the city of Bayji.

Spearheading the project for Coalition Forces are the Leader Rakkasans from the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

The Joint Communications Center, Iraq’s version of America’s 9-1-1 emergency call center, is a much needed service in Bayji. The JCC routes calls for ambulance services, police and fire as well as handles such emergencies as power outages, flooding and any other emergency issue that may arise throughout the city. The JCC also tracks insurgent attacks around the city and reports them weekly to the city’s newly formed Security Council.

The JCC was originally co-located with Coalition Forces in a secure location outside the city, but was not easily accessible to the citizens of Bayji. Capt. Scott Goehring, one of the projects liaisons and a Reserve Civil Affairs Officer from the 445th Civil Affairs Battalion from Chicago, Ill. is attached to the 1/187th Infantry Regiment. When he arrived, there was a project plan to build an entirely new building for the JCC, but the project was going to be costly and would not fully meet the needs of the center.

"At that time I started advocating that they cancel the project and...find a current building that could be easily renovated to be made into the JCC because at that time the JCC was on FOB Summerall which made it not convenient for locals and it also made it difficult to coordinate anything," said Goehring.
 

Sgt. 1st Class Oliveras from the 918th Military Police Co., Puerto Rican National Guard, pulls security during a Coalition Forces visit of the construction site at the Iraqi Police station in Bayji.  (U.S. Army photo.)

The reconstruction project has co-located the Bayji Police Headquarters and the JCC together in one facility. This arrangement allows for better communication and coordination between the agencies and puts the control and maintenance of the JCC solely in the hands of the Iraqis. The central location in downtown Bayji also makes the center accessible to its citizens.

"[Lt. Col. Randy George, commander of the 1/187th Infantry Regt.] had gone to the IP station and they had a lot of unused space," said Goehring. "After much discussion it was decided that the Bayji Main IP Station, which was the former Bathe Party Headquarters, would be renovated and the JCC moved into the portion of the building that was not being used."

The new arrangement not only benefited the JCC. The Iraqi Police, citizens of Bayji, and governmental agencies have also benefited from the co-location project. The construction contract for the project was awarded to an Iraqi contractor that uses almost entirely Iraqi work crews, giving jobs to many of the citizens around the Bayji area. Because of the co-location project, the entire IP headquarters was renovated, vastly improving force protection for the station and cleaning up the area surrounding it.

Using money saved by renovating and co-locating the JCC instead of building a new facility, upgrades and renovations are now possible for another IP station and government facility in another part of the city. The second project will house the investigations unit of the police department and will be co-located with Bayji Mayor’s and Governance Center. Construction on this refurbishment project is due to start in the third week of April.

"From a dollar standpoint, from a functionality standpoint, and just from a common sense standpoint, it was the perfect thing to do, to move the JCC in to [Bayji Main Police Headquarters]," said Goehring.

The improvement in the facilities has allowed the police department to focus on other more important issues. Its forces are currently in transition as it begins to rebuild not only its buildings, but its force. Recently, 63 new recruits graduated the Police Academy at the Sulymania Training Center and will soon be added to the roles to round out the police force in Bayji.

Additional training is also underway with current officers on the force. Military Police Officers from the 918th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit from Puerto Rico, have been assisting the Bayji Police Department with such things as fingerprinting and weapons training at the newly refurbished facility. A U.S. civilian police liaison works daily with the leadership to reorganize the current system and train the officers to better serve their community. In the fight to improve the security and safety in Bayji, the security forces and the citizens now have a joint facility in which to wage the battle.

 

By Capt. Amy A. Bishop
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 

Cranes place concrete security barriers around the main Iraqi Police Station and Joint Communications Center in Bayji. The construction project is due to be completed in mid April. (U.S. Army photo)
Young Iraqi worker mixes mortar by hand at the main Iraqi Police station construction site in Bayji. The project is due to be complete mid April. (U.S. Army photo)
Construction workers place concrete barriers around the Bayji Main IP Station while Iraqi Police and Coalition Forces provide security. (U.S. Army photo)

 

 

 

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