PARAGOULD, Ark. (KTHV) - Paragould police said people are calling them Nazis after their idea to implement a Street Crimes Unit. They said the proposal has been blown out of proportion with accusations they're imposing on people's rights through martial law.

Last week Police Chief Todd Stovall announced the Street Crimes Unit would patrol on foot with protective gear and carrying AR-15 rifles.

Corporal Brad Snyder said the reason behind the unit is to increase police presence in the areas with the highest crime rates.

"I think a lot of people have the misconception that these guys are going to be walking, shoulder to shoulder, down the middle of the street with rifles in hand, and that is completely false," Synder explained.

Snyder said the sole purpose of the unit is to increase police presence and deter crime. The police chief's plan also said officers could randomly ask residents for identification.

The Paragould Daily Press previously reported that officers in the unit would be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their necks while on patrol.

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