ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Gay
LAGHMAN, Afghanistan (April 10, 2011) - Instructors and officers from the Afghan National Civil Order Police regional training center in Mehtar Lam handed out more than 30 boxes of school supplies to a local school April 7.
People from all over the United States donated the supplies, and the ANCOP handed them out in an effort to earn the respect and trust from the local people.
"Unfortunately a lot of the local people have lost confidence in the police name over the years," said Afghan 1st Lt. Emal Zaroogh. "Handing out school supplies is just one of the ways we have been working very hard to earn back the people's respect and trust."
The school officials came out to personally thank the police officers for their help.
"I am very happy that the police officers came to deliver school supplies today," said Antiqullah Sadad, the school's headmaster. "Our school is very far from the main city so we are always in need of supplies and it is very good to have the police officers deliver the supplies because I think many of these students will see what the police do and decide to become police themselves and help protect their country."
A large portion of the supplies were donated by Nampa Christian High school in Idaho, the hometown of one of the RTC's U.S. advisors U.S. Army 1st Lt. Will Andrews, coalition forces.
"It's so important that the students see good things from these police officers, policemen are often the first experience people have with their government, so if that is a positive experience they will have a positive opinion of their government," said Andrews.
Zaroogh explained that for a transition to happen effectively people must trust and respect the people who are in charge of protecting them.
"It's extremely important for the transition of this area to Afghan forces because the police need to be seen as a good force, and the people need to trust that we will provide them good security and keep them safe," said Zaroogh.
The police officers of the Methar Lam RTC know first-hand about transition, as they are the first training center to have transitioned completely to Afghan control, and their U.S. advisors agree with their methods.
"This sort of activity is very beneficial to the transition of this area, because if the people trust and respect their police officers, then they will be more likely to listen to them," said Andrews. "If the people trust that the police can protect them they will also be more likely to report activity from hostile forces, and that is the sort of thing that needs to be happening."
The police officers handed out some of the supplies directly to the students, but the majority was turned over to the headmaster because he will know better where and when to use the supplies said Zaroogh.