Paragould, Arkansas, only has a population of 25,000, but it has a skyrocketing crime rate for property crimes. That has brought the mayor and police chief to devise a plan for crime control right out of a police state.
Here’s the Paragould Daily Press on something more akin to the Stalinist Soviet Union than the United States:
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.
“[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.”
In this town, residents have to prove they are up to nothing but walking their dog? I have no idea what kind of a person Mayor Gaskill is, but his words could come straight out of the mouth of an official from Nazi Germany.
It’s bad enough that Police are heavily armed in SWAT gear asking residents questions. Wasn’t the original intent of SWAT teams to be prepared to act in emergencies? Of course, it was. Now it’s being used to question people walking down the street minding their own business. If the First and Fourth Amendments are going to be disregarded, then Paragould’s police department may as well dump on the Sixth and Eighth Amendments and line up those who don’t answer questions properly and shoot them. Fortunately, it is not that bad yet.
This is bad enough. Hopefully, the ACLU gets all over this the first time some guy walking his schnauzer gets pulled aside by an officer with an AR-15 and told to prove the he is just walking the dog. Besides, how the hell are you supposed to prove you are just walking the dog? Isn’t it obvious?