Lots of warnings have been given, but so far no panhandlers have been ticketed since a restrictive ordinance banning panhandling at most Centralia intersections went into effect in early June, according to Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg.
However, officers have told Berg the city’s panhandlers have moved on after initial warnings. Now, he said, most warnings go to those passing through town.
In an internal memo after the ordinance was passed, Berg told officers not to issue tickets until signs explaining the new ordinance were posted. However, those will not be posted at every intersection where panhandling is prohibited.
“We’ll likely continue to keep issuing only warnings even after the signs are up, unless the officer recognizes someone they have already warned,” he said. “We’re not out to be handing out a bunch of tickets.”
Anyone caught panhandling aggressively will get a ticket, but that hasn’t been a problem in Centralia, Berg said.
An updated version of Centralia’s aggressive panhandling ordinance was approved by the Centralia City Council in late May. It restricts people from asking for money within 300 feet of all off- and onramps of highways and interstates and 27 intersections in Centralia city limits.
It’s also against the law to panhandle after dark, on public transportation vehicles or at stops.The Chronicle (Centralia)