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The Iraqi Training Initiative

The Iraqi Training Initiative
Helping Our International Partners Solve Crimes...and Save Lives


Iraqi police officers practice dusting for fingerprints
Iraqi police officers practice
dusting for fingerprints

For more than a year, we've been sending agents, analysts, and language specialists—all volunteers—to Baghdad to join a multinational effort to train the reconstituted Iraqi Police Service. We talked about it with Supervisory Special Agent Richard Hoskins, who heads our International Training and Assistance Unit and has spearheaded our efforts.

Q. How'd the FBI get involved in this training?

Agent Hoskins: The seeds were planted a couple of years ago, when the Iraqi Minister of the Interior and some of his senior police advisors visited the U.S. and met with Director Mueller and then-Attorney General Ashcroft. At the meeting, key areas where the Iraqi police force needed training were identified, and the FBI agreed to take the lead in developing course material and training in intelligence gathering and analysis, counterterrorism operations, and organized crime and kidnapping investigations. Our training began in June 2004 and is overseen by the U.S. military’s multinational Civilian Police Assistance Training Team.

Q. What do you cover specifically in your counterterrorism classes?

Agent Hoskins: Quite a bit. We go over interviewing, source development, surveillance, fingerprinting, and the enterprise theory of investigation. We explain how to identify and counter suicide bombers, large vehicle bombs, and weapons of mass destruction. We do role-playing scenarios and act out crimes to give the officers more hands-on experience. Through it all, we're teaching them that their most important job is to protect the public.

Q. Who attends the classes?

Agent Hoskins: It's a real mixboth street level cops and mid- and upper-level police managers...representing a range of Iraqi police agencies. We've trained over 600 Iraqi officers in all.

Q. You've been to Iraq several times to inspect and review the classes. What's your impression of the Iraqi police officers?

Agent Hoskins: I've found them to be very focused on the material and very committed to their country. We're talking about people who are putting their lives on the line, day-in, day-out, to maintain law and order as Iraq's democracy takes shape. Hardly a week goes by that one of their colleagues isn't attacked or killed. On top of that, they're learning a whole new way of doing businesshow to police in a democracy instead of a dictatorship. I know I speak for everyone who's involved in the training that we're just glad to be able to help them in some small way. In my mind, they're heroes.

Resources: FBI International Training Program | Related stories