Arkansas Town Unleashes SWAT To Patrol Streets

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 1 month ago

Paragould, Arkansas, that is:

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.”

[ … ]

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

Stovall said he did not consult an attorney before announcing his plans to combat crime. He even remained undaunted when comparing his proposed tactics with martial law, explaining that “I don’t know that there’s ever been a difference” between his proposals and martial law.

Statistics isn’t a good enough reason to stop citizens on the streets.  As best as I know, Arkansas is a so-called stop and identify state, but only for loitering.  Additionally, even in stop and identify states, the stop has to be a valid “Terry stop.”  It cannot be because you just want to, or because crime is high in a given area.

But beyond the unconstitutionality of this approach, it is one more step in the militarization of police tactics in the United States.  And don’t expect the courts to stop this kind of thing – they agree with the police and almost always side with them.  They are, after all, both part of the “criminal justice system.”

I asked my former Marine son to survey this picture and tell me what he thought.

His response:

Fat ass Johnny-Soldier-Boy wannbe, who has no business walking around the streets like that.  He should consider himself to be a peace officer, and if he wants to do CQB or room clearing, he should sign up, get the training, fly across the pond and do it for real.  Pitiful.  Just pitiful.

Pitiful indeed.  If the crime is so high that patrols are needed, then the Governor of the state should call out the National Guard.  Otherwise, the police should simply do their jobs.

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65 Comments on "Arkansas Town Unleashes SWAT To Patrol Streets"

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ronnor
Member

Every little hick town has SWAT teams, ordinarily you would think them funny such as Berkeley California having 20 members on their SWAT team.
It is not funny, if you put all of these people together you have a heavily armed Army in your county that belongs to the Teamster’s Union or the SEIU. Use you head on this before it to late now Obama is giving the local cops drone and tanks, read some history about what happens to people when they don’t pay attention.

Forrest
Guest

The really scary thing is that [Ron Nord-see above] is right.

Ernie G
Guest

I used to work out of a rural office that was near a small airport, and we often ate lunch at the coffee shop there. The local sheriff had a training facility nearby, and the SWAT guys ate there as well. They looked pretty much like the man in the picture, except that they had more damn black canvas, Velcro, zippers, snaps and whatnot than I have ever seen in one room. The town wasn’t Mayberry, but it wasn’t Detroit either.

Paul F
Guest

A few years ago, I had occasion to observe several SWAT teams train using military facilities. Their lack of weapons discipline (muzzle awareness, walking around with fingers on triggers, etc), swaggering ‘gunshop commando’ attitudes, and obvious poor physical condition was breathtaking. Since I was in Army uniform, some of them took time to share their alleged combat experiences with me. Reminded me of the Black Water people I saw in Iraq. We called them “wanna be’s, usedta be’s, and never were’s”.

James
Guest

Well the government didn’t buy a BILLION and a half rounds of hollow point and distribute it to SSA and weather stations in Fla. for no reason.

Paul L. Quandt
Guest

“I asked my former Marine son…”
As the only former Marines are those who are no longer alive, how is it you were able to talk to your son? My son is a no-longer-on-active duty Marine so I know a bit about Marines.

Paul

Hillbilly Jim
Guest

Paul Quandt, I know a bit about rude bullies who have to insult or correct everyone they encounter. There is no reason to be rude to the man who referenced his son. What did you accomplish with your post? Maybe if you had been in the Marines yourself you MIGHT be justified with your point.
Of the no longer in uniform Marines I know, none would behave so boorishly. Let’s just be grateful to the son who served and focus on the real problem here.

Paul F
Guest

As a retired Army CSM, I can’t speak directly but, according to my Marine sergeant brother, ‘former Marine’ is correct for those who served honorably. (‘Ex-Marine’ is the term for those kicked out of the Corps.) I figure he probably knows.

Ben
Guest

So, a combat load for an infantryman would be rifle, helmet, body armor (with SAPI plates), a MOLLE vest with minimum 210 rounds of 5.56mm, grenades, med kit, comms, NVGs, water, etc. It’s loads of fun in desert heat.

I’m guessing that “SWAT gear” will wind up being an empty MOLLE vest, the cool guy black uniform and probably the usual stuff on their pistol belt. The helmet and the rifle will go back in the cruiser as soon as they’re out of sight of the higher ups.

“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,”

Granted, there are all sorts of ways to carry a weapon and arrange all your gear, and I completely understand it’s a PITA keeping it all straight.

One thing: if your sling or any straps are “around your neck”, You’re Doing It Wrong.

Oscar
Guest

Foot patrols are a very effective method for reducing crime in a neighborhood. More police departments should spend more resources on saturating high-crime neighborhoods with foot patrols, as opposed to traffic enforcement.

Stopping people without probable cause, however, is wrong. Talking to people is fine. Police officers should get to know the residents of the neighborhoods they patrol and earn their trust. That’s the best way to gather intelligence on local crime and criminals. The neighbors know what’s going on. They just don’t want to talk about it for fear of retribution. If they know, trust and see police officers in their neighborhood every day, however, they are far more likely to provide information.

ChurchSox
Guest

So here’s how it will go:

1. Someone will jog past with his iPod on full blast and not hear the command to stop.
2. Some drugstore cowboy cop will bristle at the challenge to his authoritah and mow the runner down with burst of AR fire.
3. Given the state of police marksmanship, and the fact that an AR is the wrong weapon for a built-up area, there will probably be a couple of houses hit downrange, maybe someone in a passing car.
4. The lawsuits will bankrupt the city, and then it can’t afford cops on the street.

It’s a self-correcting problem. Someone needs to tell the mayor that civil rights don’t just protect citizens from government. They also protect inept politicians and bureaucrats from themselves.

Steve Skubinna
Guest

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”

It’s impossible to dissect everything wrong with this statement and the underlying mindset in a comment. So all I have to say is, welcome to the police state. We’re all criminals now.

kerry
Guest

There were 17 American nurses held in captivity by the Japanese in Manilla. All POWs and civilian captives had to bow to every Japanese they passed. These nurses began walking in a line, so that as they bowed, each Japanese had to bow 17 times in a row. The Japanese began avoiding the line of nurses. There have to be at least 17 Americans in Paragould.

Soap Box One
Guest

But, it the sole purpose of those rifles is “to kill as many people as quickly as possible”, why are the police carrying them?

This is worse then the security theater on display in our airports. Innocent people or pets are going to get hurt or killed by this goon squad.

GaMongrel
Member

RIP Sheriff Andy Griffith
Hello Jack Booted SWAT Thugs and patrol officers who never leave the safety of their Crown Victoria Mobile Fortresses to casually interact, face to face with the neighborhoods they are ‘serving and protecting’.
Is it any wonder civilian-police relations are so strained?

Fen
Guest

Paul L. Quandt said: “As the only former Marines are those who are no longer alive”

Wrong. I’m a former Marine and obviously still alive. That’s what we call ourselves – “former Marine”

“My son is a no-longer-on-active duty Marine”

I doubt it. If you had a son in the Corps, you wouldn’t have made such a glaring error. Its like confusing Quarterback with Cornerback after claiming to have played in the NFL.

“so I know a bit about Marines.”

You don’t know squat. Sit down and shut up.

TRO
Guest
I don’t like the idea of cops walking around this way either, although since we all know that’s just a fricken rifle and not something evil just because it looks scary, my objection has to do with cops randomly stopping people and not what they are carrying. But that said you guys are more than a little out there. You don’t know dick about the officer in this photo. He could be a “former” Marine (a (a perfectly appropriate label) himself, as a hell of a lot of cops are former military. He could be, and probably is as most cops are, a decent guy. Yet you choose to insult him like a bunch of guys who’ve had one too many speeding tickets and are bitching at the local bar. I know a few SWAT guys. Some are great, some are good, and some aren’t either. It mostly depends on the department and the kind of money they have for training. Which, incidentally, is exactly like the military. Not all operators are the same in the services as well all know. Finally, every vet’s military service is “alleged” unless you were standing by him or her, even this guys former… Read more »
roux
Guest

The police in our small city (25K) has a SWAT team and all the gear, all purchased from Dept of Homeland Security grants. Almost all of them are Barney Fife in black. Their main purpose is handing out inspection sticker and seat belt violations.

Don’t ever make the mistake of calling the police for help. You’ll be sorry.

Member

There’s not enough popcorn for this thread of comments.

Bill
Guest

If they patrol like this, instead of in normal duty belt with a clear PO uniform it is no better or worse than a third world police checkpoint.

The spokesman that thought of this should be taken out behind a shed and beaten to within an inch of his life with a bar of soap.

…and I really won’t be surprised when I hear people are starting to take potshots at them with hunting rifles.

Tom Royce
Guest

Add to this the recent “training exercises” in Miami and Houston with helicopters flying through the cities firing blanks you have a government preparing the populace to be expecting militarized activity around them.

This is very disconcerting if not terrifying for the future of our nation.

Warren Bonesteel
Guest

wrt the Marine Thing, I refer to myself as a Veteran Sergeant of Marines. My Oath has no expiration date. That means my present and ongoing ‘mission’ is to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Which is why Marines are never ‘former’ Marines or ‘ex-‘ Marines. We may be so rusty that we can’t remember the proper way to tie our boots, and we may have lost a step, but we’re still on The Mission.

wrt the article: Welcome to Police State America.

Enjoy your stay.

Me? I’m still on a mission.

The enemies of The Constitution are going to pay, and pay dearly, before I’m done.

Ernie G
Guest

Herschel Smith, further to your point, police have no duty to protect the public, regardless of the slogan painted on the fenders of their cruisers. The Supreme Court, in Castle Rock v. Gonzales said so.

Mitch
Guest
Wow, so much talk about how they shouldn’t be doing this, that, or the other thing, but the fact of the matter is that they ARE doing these things…right now. Personally, I think we should all stop speculating on what our country could become in the near future and start doing some serious soul searching instead, because we all know deep down that a beast is just around the corner. Don’t act so surprised, we have all witnessed this stage being set our entire lives, it’s just been moving very slowly until now. Sooner or later, lines will be crossed and we will all be forced to choose which side of the line we are going to stand on. Right now, it’s easy for everyone to say how much of a Patriot they are, but it will be a different story when your freedom of speech is gone and speaking up will get you shot. Some of you will say that is impossible, but look how one thing has led to another over the years, bringing us right here. I’m willing to bet that 90% of our population doesn’t even resist when push comes to shove. Fortunately, that other 10%… Read more »
Mitch
Guest

I understand why you are concerned, Mr. Smith, and I am with you on it. It is wrong, and it is unconstitutional. However, it has become clear that the Tree of Liberty is thirsty, and that our Constitution is under the threat of imminent attack. No matter what we say here, domestic aggressors are going to continue their agendas until it all hits the fan. Right or wrong, it’s upon us. We can object to it all we want, but its not going to reverse what is already in motion. And if we take action, we will only escalate the national situation…

It seems to me that we have a wolf by the ears here.

SOL Gardener
Guest

I am glad to see the support of current and former military veterans towards our nations freedom and for the US Constitution. Something I ask all of those who’ve served is that you plan to help train up the militia. do not think you’ll fight alone, and your skills are needed to increase the number of riflemen. You have neighbors that are willing, but are low in infantry basics. They need your help.

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“Rights? We don’t need no steekin’ rights!” — GraniteGrok

[…] can read more about it HERE. Like it? Share it! var addthis_config = […]

Bill
Guest

^^Truth

Fen
Guest

“to those arguing over the proper terminology for USMC veterans, well, you are obviously not one of us. But now is not the time for that petty crap”

Hope you’re not talking about me. We had a troll making attacking the OP with an appeal to authority (claiming his son was also a Marine). It wasn’t petty calling him out on the terminology, because it outed him as one of those Stolen Valor types.

And Mitch, I don’t think its going to go down like you think. There won’t be a Ruby Ridge moment. It will happen softly and quietly, like the Boiling Frog anecdote.

Dwight
Guest

Don’t worry, the train ride and the shower is free.

Just Some Northerner
Guest

The SEIU (Service Employees International Union) represents no police force members. They are predominantly in healthcare fields, building maintenance, and government employees like bus drivers and daycare providers. The police unions do have connections to the IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) but are generally autonomous, especially the officer unions.

What I’m driving at: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when some backwoods crypto-fascist announces he’s declaring martial law that people start finding a way to blame it on working men and women, and the President.

Daniel Smith
Guest

To what Oscar said, “Foot patrols are a very effective method for reducing crime in a neighborhood. More police departments should spend more resources on saturating high-crime neighborhoods with foot patrols, as opposed to traffic enforcement.”

One thing my father did not mention when he quoted me, was the fact when I did respond to the picture, my first reaction was,” Oh wow, is that Iraq again?” Your comment is very true about foot-patrols, saturating areas blah blah… But the biggest problem to me is the fact that you think it is ok for police to be conducting counter-insurgency operations in America, as we did in Iraq or Afghanistan… Let me be clear once more, Police officers are not soldiers. They are to protect, and SERVE. Counter-insurgency operations by default, is taking an aggressive stance, and offensive posture, which the police are not trained to do, even if they wanted. The separation of State and Military is vital in my opinion. History has proven that.

Viktor
Guest

There’s something strange about this particular town, Paragould.

Here’s the only follow-up article I could find:
http://www.todaysthv.com/news/article/239294/2/PPD-Street-Crimes-Unit-concerns-blown-out-of-proportion

Try to imagine the response in your own town to a statement like this from your local Police Chief.
The people in this town appear not only to be cool with it, but universally cool with it — i.e., without ANY dissent.

Check out comments to one article:
http://www.todaysthv.com/comments/239294/2/PPD-Street-Crimes-Unit-concerns-blown-out-of-proportion

And Letters to the Editor of the Paragould Daily Press:
http://www.paragoulddailypress.com/shared-content/search/index.php?search=go&o=0&l=&s=&r=&d1=12%2F31%2F12&d2=01%2F30%2F13&q=letter+editor

Paragould is a smallish town of 22,000 people, not too near any major population centers (about 70 miles N of Memphis, TN).
They say they’re doing this in response to crime. But, here’s what the Paragould PD website has to say:
http://paragouldpolice.org/

“In 2002 statistics were gathered and declared in 2003 that Paragould was recorded as the Safest City in Arkansas with a population of 20,000 plus. The crime rate was 15 crimes per 1,000. The city that came in 2nd place had a rate of 42 crimes per 1,000. ”

It just seems very weird to me. Like a cult or something.

Gramps
Guest

It’s not quite the same dynamic that you think. We suffered with it here about twenty years ago, so I recognize it.

I live in northern NJ, in a city with a crime ridden north end and a well-to-do south end. We complained when we suffered a rash of nighttime burglaries, and the chief of police spent most of the community meeting blaming the residents for the crimes. His most notable response was a massive enforcement of parking restrictions on residential streets, saying that it showed the criminals that the police were around.

Paragould’s mayor was saying how dare you criticize me. You want more police, I’ll give you more police. While he could just as easily have put the SWAT team members back in street uniforms to patrol, that would have done nothing for his passive-aggressive ego.

trackback
Arkansas Town Enacts MARTIAL LAW

[…] violent crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the […]

trackback
Arkansas Town Enacts Martial Law « DarkGovernment

[…] crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the […]

trackback
“Halt! Papers Please” | Arkansas town enacts martial law « Truth11

[…] crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the […]

John
Guest

I agree in principle with this article. The police state has grown too much, but i take exception to the author’s son. I am against the US military policing the world and essentially doing the same thing as this article is complaining about.

POG finder
Guest

Paul F,

Re: Blackwater guys; some of them might be “usedta be’s,” but what is it that they “wanna be” or “never were?” I’m pretty sure most of them have to have some sort of significant military background. Just out of curiosity, what was your MOS?

Sure some of them might be a tad overweight, but then again, so are many active duty SF.

Never understood why military guys give crap to the ex-military guys who had the ability to make more money doing the same type of work. But I’m sure some type or amount of envy is involved.

Too compare overseas private security to SWAT “wanna-be’s” is retarded.

Hooah, Smadge!

T. McGrath
Guest

I am in complete agreement with both Warren Bonesteel and Mitch. I also served in the Marine Corps, and while I have not been on Active Duty for quite some time (I am a Vietnam veteran), I am still honor bound by the Oath I took to protect and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Since the US Constitution does not grant anyone the authority to declare Martial Law and suspend my constitutionally protected rights, that is my “line in the sand.” We have a choice to make, to either act or react. I choose to act. My mission would be to seek out those who chose to enforce Martial Law and make them regret that decision.

Semper Fi!

trackback
Brain Cramps » Arkansas town enacts martial law… Police will stop everyone of the street for I.D.

[…] violent crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the […]

John Gardner
Guest

Standing up to this kind of BS is not a one man operation. You need to balls to stand up but no one wants to go that next step unless there is no otehr choice.

We all know its wrong but how do we call BS on it and push back without creating a personal shitstorm raging over our head.

How do we like minded folks band together to call our towns and cities out on this.

No matter where you live you are not alone. Does the NRA or other organization promote local action like this?

I am going to the next legion meeting and get more involved it high time to start pointing these organizations in the RIGHT direction.

Mitch I am with you but it can get cold out there in a hurry if your alone.

trackback
Arkansas town’s martial law plan ~ Salon « Stop Making Sense

[…] crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the […]

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You are currently reading "Arkansas Town Unleashes SWAT To Patrol Streets", entry #9868 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Police,SWAT Raids and was published January 28th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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