Iraqi police learn SWAT tactics at FOB McHenry
FORWARD OPERATING BASE McHENRY, Iraq — At a rickety plywood structure in a corner of this isolated base southwest of Kirkuk, Iraqi policemen stand in a tight line, guns ready. On signal, one man shoulders open a plywood door and the rest rush inside, shouting “Get down! Get down!” in Arabic, clearing rooms and subduing suspects as they move along.
It’s week four of a six-week police training program overseen by security experts called International Police Liaison Officers — U.S. municipal and state police officers who are in Iraq to mold local police into high-speed law enforcers.
Their goal is essentially to create Iraqi versions of stateside SWAT teams, said Jim Barnett, a policeman from Clyde, Ohio, and one of the officers at FOB McHenry. It’s a program used around Iraq to improve security forces, an asset sorely needed in Hawijah, a small city undergoing an upsurge in violence.
Feros Jabar Saleh, head of the eight-man Iraqi team, said they have been drilling on the basics of house raids, room clearance and driving their newest assets donated by coalition forces: black Humvee trucks.
Saleh joined the force, he said through an interpreter, “In order to make the city more safe.”