Iraqi cop academy to shut despite surge in violence
BY JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration plans to shut down a highly successful Iraqi police academy in Jordan even as security in Iraq worsens, the Daily News has learned.
The Jordan International Police Training Center near Amman will stop training Iraqi police recruits this year, having already graduated 40,000 cops from its eight-week course since 2004, U.S. officials confirmed.
“The word we have is that JIPTC completes its mission on Dec. 31, and we are proceeding on that basis,” said academy spokesman Iver Peterson.
President Bush has said American troops can come home from Iraq when Iraqi forces can secure their own country.
The $120 million Jordan academy is safe and has police trainers from 15 nations. It graduates a staggering 1,800 Iraqi cops and border guards each month. Fewer than 4% have washed out.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed shock when told by The News that the facility will soon close.
“It is mystifying and maddening that they would shut this down while violence in Iraq is spiraling out of control and in the face of an urgent shortage of trained police officers,” said Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate subcommittee overseeing Iraq reconstruction funding.
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