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— An increase in street crime has led Paragould Police Chief Todd Stovall to plan a new unit of officers who will patrol on foot and may randomly ask residents for identification.

Mayor Mike Gaskill and Stovall attended a Thursday night meeting with about 40 residents and told them that the officers will use foot patrols in neighborhoods with high crime rates.

The Paragould Daily Press reports Stovall said the officers will be clad in protective gear and carry AR-15 rifles. Stovall said that if officers see people on the street, they’ll ask why they are out and ask to see identification.

Gaskill said he supports the plan.

Stovall said he expects to roll out the patrols on the city’s east side and later expand the patrol area.

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