Iraq's Teen Cops

Blogging direct from Iraq, Wired's Noah Schachtman reviews the latest attempt to recruit reliable local policemen in Anbar:

The goal was to get 125 watchmen today. They’ve barely hit half of that. Which is a problem. Because commanders from General David Petraeus on down have declared these these "alligators" (named for their Izod shirts, and for their roles as the scaley boots on the ground for the local police commander) as cornerstones of Iraq's security. With a light blue shirt on, an alligator is authorized to carry a weapon -- if he already has one –- and man checkpoints for the I.P.s.  With his shirt off, an alligator can go to the café, to the mosque, and listen to what potential insurgents might be saying.

The idea is for the gator to be hyperlocal, to know exactly what’s going on in his few-blocks radius.  Think of him as part informer, part rent-a-cop, part sheriff’s deputy.  And sometimes, part restaurateur…

It's an interesting glimpse into the evolving reality in Anbar.