Police chief, political canvassers have misunderstanding

August 22, 2014

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — When Police Chief Dan Leimback saw two people going door-to-door in the city recently, he assumed they were salespeople.

“I said, ‘If you’re going door-to-door, you need to get a permit from city hall,'”Leimback said. The two people were actually not selling anything, they were political canvassers for democrat Cathy Forbes’ campaign for Michigan Senate.

The two campaign workers were wearing Forbes T-shirts as they walked door-to-door in Hart, the hometown of Forbes’ opponent, republican Goeff Hansen.

The chief said that people who are selling door-to-door are required by law to have a permit. However, those who hand out political information, are not required to have a permit.

“I didn’t notice the T-shirts,” Leimback said. “I never thought it was political. It’s my fault. I should have asked, ‘What are you selling?”

Leimback said his department has been keeping a closer eye on door-to-door salespeople in recent months due to overly-aggressive vacuum salespeople who were in the city and surrounding area last May. Three vacuum salespeople were charged with criminal trespassing for barging into residents’ homes and refusing to leave until they received money. Elderly residents were targeted in this scam.

Leimback said one of the Forbes volunteers brought it to his attention that they were not selling anything. “He said, ‘That’s not right, this is for a political campaign.’”

The chief said from now on, he will ask door-to-door canvassers, “What are you selling?” to avoid any further misunderstandings.