Armed Task Force To Patrol Streets In Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall told residents that they would be sending out police officers in SWAT gear beginning next year to stop people on the streets and demand identification from them. The Paragould Daily Press has the story:

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.”

swat cop

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.”

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27 Responses to Armed Task Force To Patrol Streets In Arkansas

  1. RUDE JUDE says:

    Isn’t Arkansas still a part of The United States of America?? I thought they did this kind of thing in “other” countries. Less free countries. Oh, silly me! We are less free aren’t we?

  2. R.D. Walker says:

    If there are bad guys outside, you send the good guys out on patrol. Right? I mean this was the case if it was 1858 Bloody Kansas, Sioux raids into 1864 Minnesota, Pancho Villa raids in 1916 New Mexico, in response to the thuggery around the Little Rock Nine in 1957, the National Guard in the airports after 9/11 or today. This is a local decision being made by a mayor and peaceable citizens. What am I missing?

    • notamobster says:

      Yep. I’m torn on this issue. Here’s a partial list why:

      Pro:
      1) Police have to do something to stop crime. When criminals are emboldened enough that the police feel a constant foot presence is needed, this is a good way to drive crime back into the shadows.

      2) Law & order must be maintained and many times, clamping down is the only way to make that happen.

      3) See my comments on Terry v Ohio (below) – criminal patrols and increased presence/agitation absolutely works to reduce crime. At the very least, it drives the criminals back into the shadows.

      Cons:
      1) Terry v Ohio is abused every day, around the country. This is the result of people not knowing their rights (which is their own fault), and officers using a tenuous link between Terry stops and drug offenses. We used to do criminal patrols in the ghetto at odd hours in the middle of the night. I didn’t like. I don’t care for harassing people who are merely walking around, but it works. Almost all of the folks we made contact with were up to no good.

      2) Terry v Ohio gave officers the okay to stop & pat-down, pursuant to an investigation, not just to indiscriminately stop & ID. The line between good, effective policing and violating rights is very thin.

      These CP’s need to be used in limited fashion & duration to suppress open criminality, then they need to cease.

      • Ray Davies says:

        It sure worked on the south side of Iowa City a couple years ago. They still have rolling patrols every day. The good folks were glad to see them and even gave them H2O when they came around.

  3. Buzzdaddy says:

    “Criminals don’t like being talked to”, the Chief said. Well, I’m not a criminal and I don’t like being talked to, either. Aggressive patrols seeking out evil-doers is one thing; stopping everyone and demanding to know “why you’re out walking, check for your ID” is quite another. Absent articulable, reasonable suspicion I see Fourth Amendment issues with detaining everybody.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      I’d say it depends on the level of threat. I didn’t get into to too much detail, but in Preppers Vindicated, I imagined some pretty heavily armed patrols following the outbreak and vaccinations.

      • Buzzdaddy says:

        Extreme situations, such as those you’ve used as examples require extreme solutions. Thankfully, those situations are few and far between. The population of Paragould, AR is 26,000. The police know who the good guys and bad guys are. In reality think this is a case of tough talk from the Chief, basically firing a shot across the bad guy’s bow. If he can get the criminal element to relocate – Mission Accomplished. I imagine this will be done without much violation of civil liberties.

  4. thebronze says:

    I’d ask them if I was being detained or under arrest. Then I’d tell them to piss up a rope and walk away.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      What it the people conducting the patrol were from your town? Your church? Your American Legion post? Parents of kids your kid plays with? People from your community either known to you or, at least, known of by you?

      • notamobster says:

        thebronze knows his rights. He is well within them to question the stop and leave, ignoring the officers questions, if he so chooses.

        I wonder how well a community policing effort would work… Local neighborhood citizens (not cops) openly armed and equipped with radios to report to the police on an alt freq… Anyone?

      • thebronze says:

        If that were the case, then they would know that I’m a law-abiding citizen.

        But if they carried through with it, see my original post.

  5. notamobster says:

    The police state is very effective at preventing open criminality. It should only be used to in limited circumstance for limited duration.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      Agreed. The biggest, dumbest, stupidest political position I have ever supported was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11. WTF was I thinking? It is permanent!

      My only point in my comments above is that, if there are armed bandits terrorizing my town, I will damned well support sending out a more heavily armed patrol to take them down. Once they are taken down, however, the patrols end.

      • Jim22 says:

        Ah, there’s the rub… getting the patrols to end when the threat is gone. We should learn from our mistakes – like the formation of the DHS.

  6. Buzzdaddy says:

    In my previous, crime-fighting life I could be quite the asshole when needed. Sometimes, unfortunately that’s what it takes to motivate some folks. The jurisdiction adjacent to mine had a reputation of being far and away more antagonistic than the officers of my department. One evening I stopped to check on some of my frequent flyers and as they saw me they got up and started to walk away. One of them said, “We’re going to [adjacent jurisdiction]. The police are nicer over there”. That almost brought a tear to my eye, it was such a compliment coming from those two assholes. If they had told me to “piss up a rope” that would’ve been OK, too. Because, even though I suspected these guys in several car burglaries, they still had Fourth Amendment protection until I developed reasonable suspicious or probable cause to detain them. In that case I would have handled things differently. My purpose in talking to them that evening was not to violate their rights, but to engage in voluntary conversation which would put them on notice that I was watching them.

  7. thebronze says:

    I’d carry it out even further. I’m looking forward to the day when a TSA VIPR Team makes an illegal stop on me, while outside the course/scope/ of their duties and jurisdiction .

    See original post.

    ; )

  8. notamobster says:

    I used to enjoy pulling my unit up to a local dope spot (corner) and sitting/leaning on the hood. After 10-20 minutes the dealer would hike his ass down the road (cussing me the entire way) and a little later, I’d show up and do the same thing. They hated it, but the presence was a show of force. It worked to force them inside.

    Crime is always going to happen. Open criminality however is incredibly destructive to society.

  9. Bman says:

    I believe a couple “Crime-Free Zone” signs around the town would send the bad guys a message.

    I solve problems….

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