City leader asks APD to enforce law ticketing drivers giving money to panhandlers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) An Anchorage assemblyman makes a request to the chief of police to begin re-enforcing a law and ticketing some drivers.

At a public safety meeting held last week, Midtown assemblyman, Dick Traini asked Police Chief Justin Doll to crack down on drivers contributing to the issue of illegal panhandling.

"I asked him to see what he could do to get the people off that are standing on the divider," Traini said.

The city has an ordinance making it illegal for drivers to give money to panhandlers.

While panhandlers are allowed to stand on sidewalks and receive donations from other pedestrians, Traini says illegally standing in safety corridors, or the narrow medians meant to stop traffic from crossing lanes, has become a problem across the city.

Traini says enforcing the law could help decrease the amount of panhandling in Anchorage, "there’s nothing you can do about the people that are begging for money, but you can do something about the people giving them money because it’s a safety problem," he said.

During the meeting, Chief Doll acknowledged Traini's request and said he has reminded the patrol division, numerous times, to enforce the laws when it comes to panhandlers.

Chief Doll also said he agrees with Traini's concerns about the impact on public safety.

The department said there are no records of citations being written to drivers; however, five citations have been written this year to pedestrians for either panhandling, soliciting rides, or disrupting traffic in other ways.

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