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SHARON Chief seeks regulation of out-of-town solicitors



Published: Fri, May 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Requiring a five-day waiting period to get a solicitation permit would give police time to check out a company's background.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- Police Chief Raymond Greene wants to make it tougher for out-of-town solicitors who want to do business in the city.

Greene told city council at a workshop Thursday that the summer solicitations are about to begin where out-of-state organizations send in busloads of people to do book sales and seek donations for other goods.

Those people finish their work and leave town, and the police department starts getting calls two or three months later from their disgruntled customers who didn't get what was promised, he said.

The chief said he would like to see the city enact tougher regulations that would give the police a chance to check the legitimacy of those groups before they begin canvassing city neighborhoods.

As it stands now, they come to the police station with a letter of introduction from their home base in another state and, for $1, get a solicitation permit, Greene said.

Councilman Lou Rotunno asked why the city should let outsiders canvass in the city at all.

Can't discriminate: Atty. William Madden, city solicitor, pointed out that it would be illegal to discriminate against any particular group in that fashion.

Everyone who solicits must be treated equally, he said.

Councilman Raymond Fabian said that means that any regulations instituted to crack down on out-of-state groups also would apply to local groups such as the Girl Scouts and Little League.

Suggestion: Madden suggested that enacting a five-day waiting period for the issuance of a solicitation permit might help solve Greene's problem.

A waiting period wouldn't adversely affect local groups soliciting funds, Rotunno said.

Fred Hoffman, council president, said council will look at enacting legislation to assist the police in making background checks to ensure that solicitors are legitimate.




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