A southern Illinois police captain has banned all his on-duty officers from eating at a local Denny’s after a detective was asked to leave the restaurant for carrying a firearm indoors.
On New Year's Day, a group of plainclothes detectives in Belleville were eating at a Denny’s when the manager approached them and asked one detective to either take her weapon to the car or leave the premises, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Apparently, one customer had complained about the detective’s gun being visible inside the restaurant. When the detectives displayed their badges to the manager, he continued to insist that the detective with a gun leave the restaurant or leave her gun in the car. The manager stated that only officers in uniform were allowed to carry weapons inside.
As a result of the incident, all on-duty members of the department have been banned from eating at the Denny’s in question, according to a statement from Police Chief William Clay.
"All sworn (uniformed/non-uniformed) officers have been prohibited from entering Denny's Restaurant at 1130 South Illinois for any meal or coffee breaks while on duty," Clay said in a statement. "Additionally, no officers may enter the restaurant off-duty if in uniform."
While on-duty officers are banned from eating at Denny’s, Clay insists that police officers will continue to respond to any and all emergency calls coming from the restaurant. Still, the chief is extremely unhappy about the incident.
"This was an insult, a slap in the face, to those detectives and to all of the men and women who proudly wear the uniform or badge and serve in law enforcement," Clay said in a statement, according to the News-Democrat.
"This individual was the manager of Denny's. He therefore speaks for Denny's, in my mind. This policy effectively prohibits on-duty sworn police officers from dining in a Denny's Restaurant, but allows 'registered sex offenders,' 'felons' and or 'pedophiles' to enjoy a dining experience in Denny's."
A spokesperson for Denny’s corporate headquarters, Liz DiTrapano, said that the event was simply a misunderstanding and Denny’s allows any on-duty police to carry their weapons inside the restaurants.
"Upon further discussion, we became aware the individual was a plain-clothed police officer," DiTrapano said in a statement. "Denny's policy permits law enforcement officials to carry their firearms in the restaurant, and we regret any misunderstanding."
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.