<!--:es-->U.S. Marines working round-the-clock to reinforce new police force<!--:-->

U.S. Marines working round-the-clock to reinforce new police force

AL QA’IM, Iraq — More than 300 local Iraqis from Euphrates River towns near the Iraqi-Syrian border lined up at the Marines’ outpost June 27, 2006, in hopes of becoming policemen in one of Iraq’s newest police districts.

The enlistment drive marked the largest turnout of police recruits in recent months. More than 100 Iraqis were accepted for enlistment.

The drive was held just days after police here were paid months of back-pay by Iraq’s Ministry of Interior.

A lack of consistent pay has been the primary cause for the high attrition rate within fledgling Iraqi police forces in western Al Anbar province since late last year, according to Maj. Lowell F. Rector, the 42-year-old Marine in charge of all U.S. police transition teams who mentor, train and oversee the establishment of Iraqi police forces throughout the western Al Anbar province.

Altogether, all six of western Al Anbar’s police districts have received nearly $1.3 million in back pay.

“I think the large turnout of Iraqis was in part due to the fact that the locals

By Cpl. Antonio Rosas

Combat Correspondent

1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment