Bloomfield Township starts ‘Do Not Knock’ registry

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 12, 2021

 Bloomfield Township requires solicitors to obtain a license, which must be visible on their body, from the clerk’s office before they head out to make door-to-door sales.

Bloomfield Township requires solicitors to obtain a license, which must be visible on their body, from the clerk’s office before they head out to make door-to-door sales.

Image provided by Bloomfield Township

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Bloomfield Township residents now have a way to stop solicitors from coming to their doors.

The township recently enacted a Do Not Knock registry, allowing any resident of the township to place their residence on the list.

“Looking at how popular these lists were in other municipalities, we realized it was an opportunity to plug a little hole here so that these solicitors are covered by the same types of rules and our residents have the same options as residents in nearby localities,” said Bloomfield Township Clerk Martin Brook, who noted that Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham and Troy all have similar ordinances.

Another motivation behind the registry, Brook said, was the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the pandemic and everything that’s going on, some people find it more important to maintain their distance and privacy from unexpected calls at their door,” he explained.

Just like the general solicitation ordinance that requires solicitors to obtain a license from the township before they head out to make sales, the Do Not Knock registry does not include freedom of speech exceptions like religious soliciting or political door knocking. However, when all other vendors pull a solicitation license from the township, they are required to download the most current list each day.

“It eliminates the need for residents to put out a “No Soliciting’ sign, and the solicitors don’t mind it either. They tell us that when they come to the clerk’s office to get a license. That way they don’t have to spin their wheels to go to places that don’t want solicitors to knock on their doors at all,” Brook said.

Those who violate the ordinance can be found guilty of a civil infraction.

Thus far, Lt. Paul Schwab, of the Bloomfield Township Police Department, said commercial solicitors have been abiding by the registry.

“We have not had that many complaints come back to us on the investigations side of that. We have been pretty lucky so far,” he said.

As with every new ordinance, Schwab said, officers understand there is a bit of a learning curve.

“T​​he few (complaints) that we’ve had, we are giving them warnings first,” he said. “We’re not going to take enforcement action on someone who is high school age trying to sell candy or magazine subscriptions for the lacrosse team, football team or cheerleading team. The no-knock is targeting more commercial organizations, things like that.”

At press time, the addresses of over 650 residents were included on the Do Not Knock registry, and Brook hopes to keep the momentum going. For a home to stay on the list, he said, the occupant must re-register every five years.

“They put in their information, which immediately shows up on our webpage, and the solicitors are obligated to check this page themselves and keep themselves up to date,” he said. “The more names, the better.”

Although residents are asked to provide their name, email address and phone number to township officials when signing up, Brook noted that the registry itself only includes an address. The sign-up information, he said, is also exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

To sign up for the registry, visit the clerk’s page on the Bloomfield Township website at www.bloomfieldtwp.org.     

Those with complaints or questions regarding solicitation or the Do Not Knock registry should call the Bloomfield Township Clerk’s Office at (248) 433-7702.

To report a violation of a Do Not Knock registration, call the Bloomfield Township Police Department’s non-emergency line at (248) 433-7755.

For more information, including the township’s code of ordinances and agendas for future Board of Trustee meetings, visit bloomfieldtwp.org.

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