SAPD: Panhandling Proposal Off The Table

San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus explains his decision to nix his proposal to fine people who give to panhandlers. Mark Reagan

The San Antonio Police Department nixed a proposed ordinance to fine people who give to panhandlers.

SAPD Chief William McManus made the announcement after District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran asked McManus at the end of a Public Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday when the committee could expect the proposed ordinance for debate.

“I’m not going to bring the proposed ordinance if it’s not going to make it out of committee,” McManus said after the meeting. “I’m not going to spin my wheels.”

However, McManus said he’s not disappointed.

“This was simply a piece of the equation to dry money on corners up and force them to Haven of Hope or the Salvation Army,” McManus said.

Instead, the police department will try to raise awareness about panhandling and get people who normally give a buck or two to someone on the corner with a cardboard sign to instead donate to charities that work with the homeless.

Part of that effort includes a card with a QR code that would allow people to scan a donation to a charity of their choice.

And then there’s the public awareness campaign as well, which features a nine-minute video.

When McManus introduced the proposal, it was met with backlash and criticisms that it violates the First Amendment.

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