News & Politics

In Arkansas, Heavily Armed Cops to Patrol City Stopping Residents at Random

A city in Arkansas is dealing with an increase in crime. The police chief thinks the solution to the problem is granting law enforcement expansive new powers.

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A city in Arkansas is dealing with an increase in crime. So they’ve decided to grant scary new powers to their law enforcement.

The Associated Press reports that Paragould, Arkansas is set to create a new law enforcement unit to deal with the increase in crime. The new unit will patrol on foot and may have the power to “randomly ask residents for identification.” No word on whether the Fourth Amendment is being suspended in Paragould.

The AP notes that “officers will be clad in protective gear and carry AR-15 rifles.” Pargould’s police chief said that “if officers see people on the street, they'll ask why they are out and ask to see identification.” The AR-15 is a powerful, semi-automatic rifle.

"We're going to do it to everybody,” said the police chief, Todd Stovall. “Criminals don't like being talked to.”

The mayor of the city, Mike Gaskill, backs the plan.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.