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Afghanistan-bound Marines come to LAPD to learn how to protect and serve

July 11, 2010 |  8:54 pm


Marines from Camp Pendleton, soon to deploy to Afghanistan, have been doing ride-alongs with Los Angeles Police Department officers to learn how to deal with a civilian population that is sometimes suspicious and hostile.

Under the counter-insurgency strategy, the Marines will be assigned to protect the civilian population and to mentor the Afghan police in Helmand Province, a longtime Taliban stronghold.

"People are the center of gravity, and if you do everything you can to protect them, then they'll protect you,"  Marine Lt. Andrew Abbott told the Associated Press. "That's something true here [in Los Angeles] and pretty much everywhere."

The Marines hope that in exchange for security the Afghans will provide intelligence about the Taliban in their midst.

But winning trust is difficult, whether in Marja or South-Central.

The AP reports that when Abbott was riding with Sgt. Arno Clair, the 16-year veteran of the LAPD waved out the window to a fellow and called out, "What's happenin,' man?"

The man "looked away in disgust."

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Staff Sgt. Brendan Flynn (right ) and Staff Sgt. David Christensen listen to roll-call instructions at the LAPD Southwest Community station. In front is LAPD Officer Michael Liebe. Credit: Jae C.Hong / Associated Press