PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – The Paragould Police Department issued a statement enforcing a city ordinance that could change the way some groups fundraise within the city limits.
The statement on paragouldpolice.org reads:
"In the past we have allowed groups to solicit for donations on the city streets of Paragould. After reviewing the new Code of Ordinances for the City of Paragould I found that Ordinance 32-7 denies this right. It reads:
Sec. 32-7. - Solicitation of gifts, donations or contributions by the utilization of roadblocks.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or collect gifts, donations or contributions of money for any purpose by the utilization of roadblocks of traffic within the city."
Corporal Brad Snyder said the term "roadblocks" refers to stopped or slowed traffic due to interaction between solicitors and drivers.
Corporal Snyder said the ordinance is from 1988 and was amended recently when the City updated its Code of Ordinances. It applies to four-way stops, traffic light intersections, and any roadway within the city limits.
Paragould resident Tim Matlock said, "It is a little bit of a safety hazard for the people collecting the money."
"I also see a little bit of a safety hazard for the public. They're paying attention to the people with the buckets instead of the traffic around them," he said.
The ordinance went into effect Friday, October 19. In the statement the Paragould Police Department apologized to any groups who had prior permission to solicit donations in "the near future" on the streets of Paragould.
Groups are allowed to solicit donations in parking lots of businesses upon consent from the business owners.
People who violate the ordinance could face a fine of up to $300, 30 days in jail, or both.