U.S. gives Iraqi police 3,000 radios
Stars and Stripes June 5, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi police officers in Baghdad soon will have radios to talk to each other while working, which, officials said Wednesday, will help make streets safer and will continue to curtail the dwindling lawlessness.
The U.S. government bought 3,000 Motorola hand-held and car-mounted radios for Iraqi police, said Bernard Kerik, appointed by the Pentagon to serve as the senior adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Interior.
Kerik, the former police commissioner of New York City, who gained fame following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has been instrumental in setting up the Iraqi Police Force, including the 8,800-man force in Iraq’s capital.
The goal is to have 18,000 police officers trained and on the job, although no timeline has been specified to reach that goal.
Those officers are augmented by U.S. and coalition military forces, who continue to patrol the streets.
Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of the Coalition Joint Task Force-7, beefed up the number of patrols around the city to get a better handle on security.
On Sunday, he instituted a voluntary arms turn-in program, in which locals can turn in their weapons, no questions asked. The amnesty expires June 14. But Iraqis, still fearful of outlaws and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime and supporters, are not showing up in droves to relinquish their guns.
“This is a weapon-control program, not a weapon disarmament program,” McKiernan said. “I want to make that clear.”
Troops and police want to rid the streets of all weapons larger than, and including, the 7.62 mm AK-47 — which is abundantly found here, he said.
Lawlessness has eased during the past two weeks, although there are still reports of carjackings, drive-by shootings, revenge killings, robberies and burglaries. Gunfire still rountinely pierces the night, even after the 11 p.m. curfew.
Roughly 30,000 U.S. troops are present in Baghdad.
The recent attacks against U.S. and coalition forces have been sporadic and unorganized, McKiernan said, and not indicative of an organized resurgence of the Baath party or Saddam’s regime.