Paragould, Arkansas has only 25,000 people, but is one of the most dangerous towns in America.
According to statistics from city-data.com, 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."
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"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."