Police state dispatch
Better stock up on body armor citizens:
Following a rise in 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 streets.
“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, and check for your ID,” police chief Todd Stovall told a December town hall meeting. As if to render the implementation of a visible police state more palatable, Stovall assured residents that police stops would not be based on any profiling:“We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said.
Stovall also told residents he had not consulted an attorney before instituting the plan. HuffPo’s Radley Balko noted that Paragould is not the first town to bring in such measures:
Using SWAT teams for routine patrols isn’t uncommon. Fresno did this for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The city sent its Violent Crimes Suppression Unit into poorer neighborhoods and stopped, confronted, questioned, and searched nearly everyone they encountered.“It’s a war,” one SWAT officer told Christian Parenti in a a report for The Nation (not available online). Another said,“If you’re 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you’re not in our computer, then there’s something definitely wrong.”
They ended up cancelling two town hall meeting because after the public outcry the police felt there were "public safety concerns." Which is hilarious.
There's an awful lot of taxpayer funded quasi military gear just sitting in police stations waiting for some terrorists to move to town. It's only reasonable that they'd want to use it. I suspect that's what's driving most of this sort of thing: boys wanting to use their toys.
The martial law aspect of this is the only thing that's really out of the ordinary. The general militarization of the police is nationwide.