Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Perspective: Building on a police force of one

Marines conduct a house-to-house search in Barwanah

If the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment is going to rid the town of Barwanah violent insurgents, it depends on 80 men from the Nimrawi tribe huddled in one dark room of a large house down the street. It is protected by concertina wire, tanks, Marines, soldiers, and one 19-year old Barwanah police officer who searched them when they came in. He is the only police officer on the entire force.

His name is Wahad. He wears a black ski mask to hide his face. His neighbors believe he was arrested and detained by the Americans; they don't know he joined the police force in December. He has only been home twice in two months, and then under cover of night and with a phalanx of Marines to protect him.

"They're scared all the time," said Buck, a police officer from Florida helping to organize the new force. "This is the time when they are hit, when they are killed, when there is a screening like this. This is the typical beginning of a police department in a hot area, just kind of going through the steps."

Read the rest at UPI