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Iraqi police disperse mock riot

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POSTED: April 26, 2010 12:29 p.m.
U.S. Army photo/

Iraqi troops line up during the exercise.

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DIYALA, Iraq — The crowd was out of control. What should have been a peaceful protest turned violent within minutes. News of the riot reached Iraqi police in Baqubah and they sent in the Baqubah IP quick reaction force, which is trained to handle such incidents.
The QRF, equipped with face visors and body armor, arrived at the chaotic scene, formed a line and marched toward the protestors, beating their plexiglas riot shields in unison with their batons. The protestors formed a human chain, undaunted by the show of force.
Two massive, riot-control vehicles with mounted loud speakers pulled up. Over the loud speakers, police inside the vehicles commanded rioters to “go home!” The protestors retaliated by throwing various objects at the force. The riot was short-lived, however, as the force used water turbo jets atop the vehicles to shoot water at 20 pounds per square inch at the crowd. This ended the mock riot training exercise.
Soldiers with 3rd Platoon, 66th Military Police Company trained the Baqubah IP quick reaction force April 18-19 on crowd control and riot dispersal at Forward Operating Base Warhorse.
“The purpose of this training is to train the trainer,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Garrard, the lead instructor for the training with 66th MP attached to 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. “We train them on certain techniques that they need to be aware of so that they can go back and train their counterparts.”
The 66th MPs put together a course that covered safety precautions, each member’s roles in different formations, escalation of force and practical applications.
The Baqubah force’s job is to effectively de-escalate the situation while minimizing casualties. They must be mindful of not only the crowd, but also their own welfare. Full riot protective gear and situational awareness improve QRF safety, which is of the utmost importance.
Each force member’s role will differ. “It’s important for them to identify each individual’s responsibility. They should know the purpose of their position and the person’s next to them,” Garrard said. “They can train the others and identify any weaknesses so that they can improve.”
The QRF employs an escalation of force at the lowest level possible to disperse the crowd. When one level does not work, they proceed to the next. The QRF vehicle is included in the escalation. It is equipped with cameras all the way around, allowing a two-man team to operate the vehicle without leaving it. The “water bus” can be equipped with a variety of non-lethal projectile weapons like bean-bags, rubber bullets and high pressure water dispersal.
“We were able to see what we learned during the practical application,” said Maj. Ibrahim Abd-Allah Asskv Al-Saady with the Baqubah QRF. “Now that my men are trained, we can begin training the others in the company.”
Ibrahim has 40 policemen in his company. He plans to begin training the others as soon as possible.

 

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