PPD Chief Todd Stovall said armed officers in SWAT gear would soon be patrolling city streets in high crime areas, going as far as asking people walking down the street for identification and a reason for their presence.
Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill announced that local police are considering an armed task force to patrol streets in Paragould, Arkansas.
Paragould Daily Press reported:
In response to a recent increase in crime, Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall offered residents at a town hall meeting Thursday night at West View Baptist Church what could be considered an extreme solution — armed officers patrolling the streets on foot.
Stovall told the group of almost 40 residents that beginning in 2013, the department would deploy a new street crimes unit to high crime areas on foot to take back the streets.
“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”
Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.
“We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”
Gaskill backed Stovall’s proposed actions during Thursday’s town hall.
“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”
Stovall said the foot patrols would begin on the east side of town and would eventually snake into the Pecan Grove area.
Hat Tip Sandi