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Iraqi and Military Police Partner to Improve Community Relations 
Feature News Story 
Sgt. Stephen Barden 
Sgt. Stephen Barden from Hull, Mass., 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 772nd Military Police Company, transfers backpacks to the Iraqi Police truck before “Operation Backpack” kicks off at the Sukaina School for Girls, May 6, 2009 (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson)
By Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson, 41st Fires Brigade PAO 

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq – Iraqi and Military Police partnered together for “Operation Backpack,” delivering over 250 backpacks filled with school supplies to the Sukaina School for Girls, May 6, 2009.

Iraqi Police from the Old Izza police station in Kut led the humanitarian aid mission while Soldiers from 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 772nd MP Company helped by delivering the backpacks to the IPs who then handed out the bags at the school.

“This is very beneficial to the students because they are getting supplies to help them with school,” said Suhad Naeen Hethel, school manager.

“It is also good because it shows the cooperation between the Iraqi Police and Coalition Forces,” she added.

The school is located right next to the Old Izza police station, and the station commander said he hopes these type of projects will help to change the behavior of the school-aged children towards coalition forces.

“Today went very well and I hope to continue to do these types of projects in the future so that the children see that they should throw flowers at the coalition forces instead of rocks because of all the help the coalition forces have given them,” said Lt. Col. Thanwan, Old Izza IP station commander.

Community policing missions are different than the normal police training missions that the MPs normally concentrate on and according to 1st Lt. Tyler Field, platoon leader, 2nd Platoon, these missions are important in improving the IPs relations with the community.

“The IPs were the ones handing everything out and the children, along with the teachers, saw the IPs giving back to the community,” said Field, of Bridgewater, Mass. “It’s going to go a long way with community policing.”

“Operation Backpack” is scheduled with other IP stations that the 772nd MP Co., partners with and it’s always a good time when they get to do something that benefits the community.        

“I just enjoy doing this stuff,” said Sgt. Matthew Dubuc, squad leader, 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon.

“Just seeing the smiles on the kids faces definitely means a lot, and it shows that they really appreciate what we try to do for them,” added Dubuc from Pawtucket, R.I.


 Additional Imagery

Iraqi girls line up to receive their backpacks.

An Iraqi Police Officer from the Old Izza police station helps a teacher line up the students at the for Girls before they hand out backpacks to the children, May 6, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson)

An Iraqi girl receives her backpack.

A girl races back to her classroom after receiving a new backpack delivered by the Iraqi Police from the Old Izza police station, May 6, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson)