Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 25, 2013

Peddlers, solicitors to need permit to visit door-to-door in Bluefield, Va

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Peddlers and solicitors going door to door will soon have to obtain a permit if they want to visit neighborhoods in the town of Bluefield,Va.

The Bluefield Va., Town Council recently passed an ordinance requiring peddlers and solicitors to obtain a permit from the Bluefield Va., Police Department, said Mayor Don Harris.

The idea for an ordinance originated due to concerns that people with “extensive criminal backgrounds” could knock on residents’ doors, he stated.

“Just recently we encountered a situation that had it not been for an alert citizen it could have been dangerous,” Harris said. “Two males going door to door had extensive felony convictions and they were in possession of drugs.”

In a similar case reported in mid-September, two people claiming to be with a senior citizens service agency were going door to door in the Richlands Va., area. They were asking residents if there were any senior citizens in the community who were taking pain medication and in need of assistance, investigators with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office said.

Solicitors and peddlers will be required to have identification and a permit issued by the police, Harris said. Not every group will be required to get a permit.

“It’s not intended for our high school band, for example, that may sell candy. They can do that without going through the permitting process,” he said. “The intent of the passage of this ordinance is to protect the well being and safety of the people in Bluefield Va.”

Peddlers will be required to display identification and their permit from the police department. Residents approached by people lacking either of these requirements should contact the police department immediately, Harris said.

The new ordinance will go into effect by Nov. 20. The application process is still being drafted, but applicants will be required to provide a recent photograph and other information, said Police Chief Harry Cundiff.

They will go first to the town treasurer’s office for a business license, and then to the police department for a permit.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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