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June 29, 2004 3:00 AM

First full day in sovereign Iraq ends peacefully for one police patrol

Short on equipment, training and the respect of their countrymen, targeted by insurgents and everyday criminals, Iraqi policemen have a job thats tougher than ever. So the 320 patrolmen and 22 officers at the command of Brig. Gen. Safaa Ali in the Bayaa stations patrol division stick together as they roam the 9 square miles under their jurisdiction at the citys southwest edge. Even a police officer these days may need another police officer, said Ali, 45. We are ready, and we are expecting anything. Setting out on patrol Tuesday, the first full day of Iraqi sovereignty, it was obvious that Alis men faced the same monumental challenges as the day before the American occupation officially ended. They professed optimism, but were all too aware of the dangers as well as their forces shortcomings.

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