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Police Officer Trying to Get Interpreter out of Iraq

Police Officer Trying to Get Interpreter out of Iraq



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The city's assistant police chief says an interpreter protected him during his recent Army duty in Iraq.

He wants to return the favor.

Randy Watt is working to get the interpreter out of Iraq and to the United States.

The Swanson Family Foundation in Ogden has sent letters of support to many federal agencies involved in the decision. It has agreed to provide a home and a job for Watt's interpreter.

Watt believes the man, who became a close friend and confidant, will be here in several months. "That's my reward to him for helping keep me alive," Watt said.

He said Iraqis who work for the U.S. military or private contractors are routinely killed by Islamic militants.

The agencies involved in the interpreter's possible resettlement include the Army, the State Department's National Visa Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and the Homeland Security Department. "I'm amazed at how smoothly it has gone," Watt said. "We're about two-thirds of the way there."

The U.S. government has said it would increase to more than 100 the number of military interpreters resettled each year, he said. Thousands have applied.

Watt, 49, worked in a police command post in Baghdad, the nerve center of Iraq's Ministry of the Interior, coordinating missions and intelligence while also training police. He also spent a year in Afghanistan starting in 2002.

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Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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