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Allen reports: "According to statistics from, Paragould has had a property crime index rating that is more than double the national average since 2007."

Paragould, Arkansas Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall announced at a December 14 Town Hall meeting that beginning in 2013 the streets of their city were going to be patrolled by police officers bearing SWAT gear and AR-15s. (photo: Disclose TV)
Paragould, Arkansas Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall announced at a December 14 Town Hall meeting that beginning in 2013 the streets of their city were going to be patrolled by police officers bearing SWAT gear and AR-15s. (photo: Disclose TV)

A Small Town in Arkansas Shreds the 4th Amendment

By Michael Allen, Opposing Views

18 December 12


aragould, Arkansas has only 25,000 people, but is one of the most dangerous towns in America.

According to statistics from, Paragould has had a property crime index rating that is more than double the national average since 2007. Rapes, burglaries, thefts and assaults are also above the national average.

At a town hall meeting, last Thursday, Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall endorsed a plan to send police in SWAT gear and carrying AR-15s into downtown Paragould starting in 2013, reports the Paragould Daily Press.

Chief Stovall told the Paragould Daily Press: "This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this. It allows us to do what we're fixing to do."

"If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID. To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason."

"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."

Mayor Gaskill added: "They may not be doing anything but walking their dog, but they're going to have to prove it."

Chief Stovall explained how martial law will work under his Street Crimes Unit: “We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact." your social media marketing partner


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-38 # Michael_K 2012-12-18 14:45
Hmmm Billy-Jeff Clinton's patch... I can't act surprised.
+3 # Ralph Averill 2012-12-19 04:21
What?!! Could you expand on that comment?
-2 # Michael_K 2012-12-19 12:18
Apparently, I don't need to, since it was clear enough for 27 bozos to give me a thumbs down. (they wouldn't give a thumbs down to something they didn't understand, would they?) ;-)
+16 # Glen 2012-12-19 12:21
Oh, please. This has nothing to do with Clinton up front, just because it is Arkansas. This is happening in many towns across the country. When the economy and jobs began to seriously affect citizens, crime went up. There are actual organized, small gangs that run across borders to burgle homes and cars in small towns close to said borders.

A friend, who is a cop in a small town also says that emotion and rage are rising due to either folks having no job or one that cannot support their families. A man was outside his home crying and bashing his head on the side of the house. The cop assumed he was on drugs, so spoke to the man and then quietly moved in behind him. He pulled his stick in preparation and put one arm around the man, who he knows well. The man then cried in the cop's arms. He feels like a failure.

Assistance for those struggling through these years is far more helpful than calling out the troops, which will anger folks even further.
+55 # OldSalt 2012-12-18 15:48
Neither the Mayor nor the Police Chief have the authority to declare Martial Law. Only a Governor or President can send in the Military and suspend civil rights during a time civil unrest such as an open rebellion,riots or invasion by a foreign army. The Mayor and Police Chief are also violating their sworn oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. If they can't keep the peace then they need to get on the hot-line to the Governor of their State and ask for National Guard to come in.
+8 # Third_stone 2012-12-18 19:21
It is not correct to call this martial law, because the military is not imposing it.
+7 # Glen 2012-12-19 14:14
It may not be military martial law, but the military is fronting the equipment, as they have in many towns and cities around the country. One could declare this to be borderline martial law, which will never fix the situation. All citizens will subjected to any controls or brutalization, not just potential criminals.

A community can and should work to assist one another and support those suffering due to lack of a decent income. Much preferable to a military style put down.
+3 # kyzipster 2012-12-19 11:54
I lived in San Francisco during the Rodney King riots, they imposed this sort of thing along with a curfew. I was told very forcefully by a cop to get off the street. It was really creepy. I think the governor called for it.

I'd say he has enough to fight a law suit. Because of the rise in crime, he's claiming to have sufficient reason to suspect anyone and everyone. Same held true with the Rodney King riots and efforts to prevent all hell from breaking loose in SF.

I'm in no way supporting him but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
+46 # MsSparkleLake 2012-12-18 15:50
That type of police force will not help the situation at all. They need to create more community awareness and helpful dialogue. You can't punish and squash freedoms and hope for a better type of community. This community will be harmed and this action will fail
+36 # othermother 2012-12-18 18:15
Chief Stovall obviously has a crush on Sheriff Joe (Arpaio)and hopes to outdo his idol.
+3 # Michael_K 2012-12-18 21:10
I'm betting Todd Williams is on his way there to polish that man's combat boots!

(actually, I'm just probably being paranoid!) ;-)
+14 # MainStreetMentor 2012-12-18 18:38
I'm curious about the mayor's political affiliations ...
+10 # Rick Levy 2012-12-19 02:36
at first I read your comment as "political afflictions", but then I figured what's the difference.
+13 # Sweet Pea 2012-12-19 06:10
Kind of sounds like he might be affiliated with the Nazi party.
+5 # 666 2012-12-19 06:18
i'm curious about his political aspirations...
+26 # Secular Humanist 2012-12-18 23:44
I'm tempted to visit there and go for a walk without photo ID just to show them how much their new policy is worth in a lawsuit. They could afford the social services, community-cente red police work, an effective anti-gang unit, and a mental health/substanc e abuse initiative with what it would end up costing them in legal fees and compensatory and punitive judgements.

And even of it's not me, it probably will cost them that once the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center get done kicking their @$$.
+4 # Glen 2012-12-19 14:21
RF, excellent observations. The economics of the situation and the attitude serves Homeland Security well. (One state/town at a time.)

I have been to Paragould and a relative lived there a couple of years. Over all it is a very nice community being infected with issues relative to economics and the growing drug trade in many towns all over the country. The folks there can and should work to help each other. Many are intelligent and savvy enough to challenge anything close to a martial law type control.
+13 # unitedwestand 2012-12-18 23:48
This to me is a perfect example of what the country would be like under Libertarian policies. Each State could willy nilly make up laws and actions that go against the tenets of our venerable Constitution.

I hadn't planned on going to ParaGHOULd, and I don't think anybody should go there or do business there either. Defund that police department!
+4 # JCastron1 2012-12-19 00:05
If the Town allows this kind of goon-control, then law abiding citizens need to move away and find a better life somewhere else. Then maybe this character will be let loose from living on the dole. Would you rely trust goons to be the keepers of the law?
+9 # CarolynScarr 2012-12-19 00:26
I would like an independent analysis of their statistics and a close examination of the data they are using.
+2 # futhark 2012-12-19 00:41
As President Obama has frequently said, his first responsibility to to "keep the American people safe." Constitution be damned, I guess...
+7 # Greenery 2012-12-19 02:13
And yet the 2nd Amendment is untouchable.
+4 # cordleycoit 2012-12-19 04:18
This sounds like Colorado.The Denver PD never got over it's reputation for burgling the local merchants while repressing, killing: hippies, Latinos and Blacks, That was before they discovered drugs. Now adays the cops spend their rigging Photo Red Lights. Welcome to America the Police State.
+12 # Charles3000 2012-12-19 05:08
Something is causing the upsurge in crime and people living there have to know what it is. We all need to hear from them.
+10 # kyzipster 2012-12-19 07:40
This definitely appears unconstitutiona l but perhaps he will bring much needed attention to this town's crime problem, it sounds pretty bad.

Smaller government (less police protection), off-shoring jobs, cuts in welfare and other assistance. All so we can maintain trillions in tax benefits for the wealthy and corporations. Welcome to conservative America.
+9 # neohip 2012-12-19 07:59
The usual less conscious male knee-jerk reaction. Never mind questioning what is causing the rise in crime? I wonder if the betrayal of the American people by their government has anything to do with it? But let us not engage in the difficult process of looking at the cause, let us attack the symptoms.
+11 # jederfr7 2012-12-19 10:08
perfect recipe for destroying a community
and not solving the problem! Punish the 99
per cent and allow the 1 per cent to continue to create havoc
+4 # margpark 2012-12-19 12:00
Gee, I'm in trouble. I have no ID on my person when I am out walking the dog. Only have ID on my person when I am shopping.

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