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Under the Gun in Iraq: My Year Training the Iraqi Police
Robert Cole; Jan Hogan  More Info

About the East Palo Alto Police Department

The City of East Palo Alto is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and is uniquely positioned to maximize its potential as a significant city in the region. Founded by speculators and farmers in 1849, the town was originally named Ravenswood. For most of its history, the area regarded as East Palo Alto was 13 square miles and part of unincorporated San Mateo County. As such, it did not have an official boundary until it incorporated in 1983.

 

The East Palo Alto Police Department has an authorized strength of 53 employees and is organized into four Divisions: Administration Division; Investigations Division; Operations Division; and, Support Services Division.  There are currently 28 police officers and 6 detectives working in the East Palo Alto Police Department.

Robert Cole is a retired sergeant from the East Palo Alto Police Department (California) and the author of Under the Gun in Iraq.”

 

According to the book description of Under the Gun in Iraq, “Robert Cole - a retired California police officer hired by DynCorp as an international police trainer - presents a vivid account of the challenges of training the Iraqis to handle their own security. In blunt, everyday language, Cole gives the reader an unusually candid and often hair-raising glimpse into reality at the street level as he and his colleagues navigate the dangerous sectors of Baghdad, Tikrit, and Kirkuk, dodging explosions and bullets aimed at them by young, Iraqi, wannabe heroes.

 

Cole describes situations not shown in the media that fly in the face of the party line from Washington: men in their sixties being hired as policemen, Iraqi detectives who extract information from people by ramming toothpicks under their fingernails, officers suggesting that the best way to subdue potential suspects who flee is by shooting them in the back, police hunkered down in their barracks who refuse to patrol neighborhoods for fear of violence, an enemy that easily blends into a population armed to the teeth with loaded AK-47s, and the routine frustrations of cultural and language barriers to communication.  In sharp contrast to the usual bromides about staying the course, Under the Gun in Iraq paints a brutally realistic picture of the bleak, perilous road ahead. This is essential reading for all Americans seeking an honest understanding of the dire situation in Iraq.”

 

According to Bryan Vila, Ph.D., a professor at Washington State University, “What happens when you drop an experienced American cop in the middle of a war zone -- with very little preparation or support -- to train Iraqi police? Under the Gun in Iraq tells you in high fidelity detail about this vital aspect of U.S. efforts to build a nation.”

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