Media Release on Public Awareness Campaign for Panhandlers

Due to a 2017 Kentucky State Supreme Court decision that ruled that ordinances prohibiting begging and soliciting on public streets or intersections are unconstitutional, the city of Elizabethtown has seen a significant influx of panhandlers throughout the area.  After carefully researching and considering various solutions to address the issue, the Elizabethtown Police Department, in partnership with United Way of Kentucky, is embarking on a public education campaign to raise awareness of the potential problems caused by giving to panhandlers. Panhandlers sometimes misrepresent their situation to solicit funds, preying on people’s sympathies with often fabricated stories of misfortune. Even worse, many panhandlers use their solicited funds to feed self-destructive drug and alcohol addictions. The bottom line is that it’s impossible for a citizen to vet the need and condition of a panhandler. The goal of this educational campaign is to promote charitable giving to vetted sources that seek to relieve crucial needs in our community. To that end, we will be erecting signs in six different locations throughout the city. I’ve attached a photo of the sign that we’ll be using. The signs advise motorists not to support panhandlers, and provide a link to a website to provide further education about panhandlers and better ways to engage in charitable giving.

Officer John Thomas

Public Information Officer

Elizabethtown Police Department

300 South Mulberry St

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