Whaley wants police to be ‘aggressive,’ cite panhandlers who break laws

Panhandling is protected free speech, but Dayton leaders want police to be “very aggressive” to cite panhandlers who violate the city’s ordinances.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said panhandlers constantly break the law by illegally entering the right-of-way to collect cash from motorists.

“They get in the road every time — it’s dangerous, it’s not good for our quality of life and it needs to be enforced,” she said.

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The city passed ordinances last year prohibiting “distribution” in the right-of-way to try to replace its anti-panhandling laws, which it rescinded for likely being unconstitutional.

Whaley recently instructed police Chief Richard Biehl and police command staff to prioritize enforcement of the city’s distribution laws and crackdown on panhandlers who violate the city’s ordinances. She said panhandling harms citizens’ quality of life and said police must do everything they can within the law to discourage the activity.

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