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Afghan policemen get back to basics 
 
Staff Sgt. Oscar Gomez looks on as an Afghan National Police officer teaches fellow policemen  
Staff Sgt. Oscar Gomez (left) looks on as an Afghan National Police officer teaches fellow policemen on the Afghan constitution and ethics, at Police District 5, Mir Bacha Kot, just north of Kabul, May 8, 2010. Gomez is with Police Mentor Team 5, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery, Massachusetts Army National Guard. The class is part of the Directed District Development program, an effort to help legitimize the police force. (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Jordan Breau, Task Force Kabul).
By 2nd Lt. Jordan A. Breau, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment 

KABUL - Thirteen members of Police Mentor Team 5 from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery, Massachusetts Army National Guard conducted the first class of a six-week training program, May 9, 2010.

The Directed District Development training program aims to legitimize and enhance the skills of the police department to better serve and protect the local community of Mir Bacha Kot, Afghanistan.

The team will train more than 100 of Afghanistan’s newest policemen. The first two weeks the policemen will receive training on the subjects of handcuffing, hygiene, the Afghanistan Constitution and ethics, then transition to more complex training such as reporting unexploded ordnance and establishing vehicle checkpoints.

“I have faith that at the end of the six weeks these policemen will have stronger skills to better serve Mir Bacha Kot and Afghanistan,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Javier Garcia, training mentor, PMT 5. “By being in the National Guard we have a distinct advantage when training and mentoring the Afghans. We can draw from our civilian experience to assist in the success of this police district. We have Soldiers are that EMTs and policemen back home and they can use their particular skill sets and experience to give the policemen the best real world training available in Afghanistan.”

“These policemen will be constantly working with the public and it’s critical that they understand the significance of washing their hands and maintaining basic hygiene practices,” said Spc. Gary Reagan, 1-101, an Army medic.

Reagan instructed the policemen on the importance of good personal hygiene and explained how easily they could spread diseases to their homes and families. said Reagan.

After personal hygiene the training transitioned to the Afghanistan Constitution and ethics. Mir Bacha Kot Deputy Chief of Police Mohammad Arif said, “The Afghan Constitution is the mother of all laws and these are laws which all policemen and citizens should live by. There are 30 tribes within Afghanistan, but we are all Afghans, whether we are male or female. We have to start seeing each other as Afghans and not as members of separate tribes.”

Arif said his policemen are motivated and look forward to their training.

“We are happy to have the training, it is going very well and the students are very interactive and motivated to learn. We are helping ourselves and our community,” said Arif.

“Training doesn’t stop here,” added Staff Sgt. Oscar Gomez, team mentor. “We are teaching this group so in turn they will become the trainers and teach the future policemen, while continuing to sharpen their skills and techniques.”

5/18/2010