Defense chief says no US police role in Haiti

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ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States remains concerned about the possibility of lawlessness and increased violence in Haiti, but is not planning an expanded policing role now.

Gates said Monday that the U.S. forces in Haiti for earthquake relief are operating under rules of engagement that would allow them to defend themselves or to defend innocent Haitians or foreigners if need be.

Although a joint agreement with the Haitian government asks the United States to help as needed in augmenting security, Gates said he has heard nothing about the U.S. stepping into a true police function.

Gates says security is key to the U.S. mission of distributing food and water.