Cookie Cops

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Friday, February 25, 2011 - 11:17am

Officer forced to apologize after shutting down Girl Scout cookie booth.

It sounds like a bad Saturday Night Live skit: police cracking down on a Girl Scout cookie stand.

It happened Wednesday in Villa Rica, Georgia when a police officer asked members of Troop 7984 if they had a peddler's permit.

Troop Leader Kathy Crook was stunned.

"We were just told that we would have to pack up our cookie booth [and] we would need to go and get a peddlers permit," Crook said. "The customers that were there had to just be turned away."

Crook was more disturbed at the reaction of the younger Daisies in the group.

"They were very upset that we were in real trouble and that we were all going to be taken to jail," Crook said.

Both Villa Rica Police Chief Michael Mansour and Mayor J. Allen Collins said they have spoken with the officer who dealt with the Girl Scouts, and they believe he did nothing wrong.

"This is a veteran officer who has a good record," said Mayor Collins. " I think this was just a big misunderstanding."

There is a Peddler's Permit ordinance on the city books.

City council members adopted it more than a year ago after a member commented that he almost hit a young person who was selling something dangerously close to a busy street.

"We issue the permits so that parents and kids know the rules," said Chief Mansour. "We don't want them standing in the street or in a dangerous location. We also want to make sure people who are fundraising are from our area and not sneaking in from other states."

Troop 7984 now has their permit and plan to be out in the city selling again Saturday.

To smooth things over, the city is offering troop members a pizza party and a personal tour of the police department.

"I don't want kids to ever fear police officers," Chief Mansour said. "I hate that that happened. I hope we handle things better next time."
 

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