Every so often, some cop comes up with a boneheaded idea that is destined to make the lot of us look like would-be tyrants on a power trip. I would like to think that, in most cases, this is done with the best of intentions — despite poor judgment. What troubles me more than boneheaded moves is when a police officer decides to go and write his own version of constitutional law. This is made even worse when the officer is a top administrator.
In the Northeast Arkansas town of Paragould, Police Chief Todd Stovall has found his community plagued with a higher than usual crime rate; at least statistically speaking. It seems that crime in Paragould is higher than the national average and Stovall claims his citizens are scared. Stovall’sanswer is to start a new street crimes unit, one that will patrol the streets of this community of 26,000 on foot, in SWAT gear, and bearing AR-15 assault rifles slung around their necks. According to Stovall, this unit will confront anyone out walking and make them identify themselves. Sounds scary right? That’s because for most Americans, having a SWAT team lurking in the neighborhood, poised to make you identify yourself on a Sunday evening stroll, is downright frightful!
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