Arkansas Town to Unleash SWAT-Style Force to Patrol Streets, Question Citizens

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Policeman with AR-15 on patrol in Paragould (photo: Paragould Daily Press)

Crime has gotten so out of hand in Paragould, Arkansas, that local leaders have decided to deploy police wearing SWAT-like uniforms and brandishing semiautomatic rifles on city streets.


Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall told residents at a recent town hall meeting that putting heavily-armed cops on patrol was the best way to curb crime in the town of 26,000.


“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said, according to the Paragould Daily Press. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”


Citizens who don’t comply may be charged with obstructing a governmental operation, according to Stovall. For “people who buck us…we are prepared to throw your hind-end in jail,” he promised.


Stovall insisted that there will be no profiling, that any citizen could face being stopped. The police chief said “fear” was “the reason to do this.”


Legal advice apparently was not sought before making the decision. When asked if his plan was different from imposing martial law, Stovall said he wasn’t sure if there was a difference.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Armed Task Force to Patrol Streets; Police Chief Says Citizens Could be Subject to ID Checks (by Ryan Saylor, Paragould Daily Press)

The Militarization of Your Local Police (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

New “Less-Lethal” Weapons Spread to Police (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Drones Now Being Used by Police and Sheriffs in U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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