The armor’s finally coming off the police trucks thanks in part to a Saddamist Republican Guard commando turned 1920s Revolution Brigades jihadi turned, er, chief of Fallujah’s Iraqi police. I’ve seen loads of big-media reports about insurgents hooking up with the Marines to do neighborhood watch but Bill Ardolino’s account is the first I’ve heard of any of these guys being given a formal leadership role in local security. Quote:

Faisal eventually beat initial expectations by making a host of aggressive moves to target the insurgency and corruption in the city.

“Faisal is a very candid person. He says what he thinks and I seriously think he has a genuine interest in Iraq getting better and Fallujah becoming a more peaceful place, whereas [when] you talk to some other Iraqi leaders, there’s always that thing in the back of your mind, ‘what’s your angle?’” said Reid. “I really think that his angle is that he wants it better, not only for his family, but for other people. And I think he’s very proactive. He’s definitely a guy who leads by example. He’ll go out on the streets with his police and he’s not a guy who sits back in his office and criticizes, he goes out there and takes a look at it himself. And I think the IPs really respond to that.”…

Specific examples of Faisal’s impact include the arrest of corrupt employees of local propane and flour factories who were stealing and gouging local residents, compelling aggressive anti-insurgency operations by the police, cooperating with the Iraqi Army leadership, and supporting and enforcing the non-commercial vehicle ban, a tough, potentially unpopular decision.

It’s distressing that, in Bill’s words, the Marines consider themselves “lucky” to find a guy willing to enforce the law but also comforting to hear that a few of them still exist there. Follow the link for more details about police progress in the city, including how you turn a force that’s afraid to face jihadis alone into one that isn’t. The military’s started to apply this model in some of the Shiite areas south of Baghdad, too. And so far, so good.