BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Belleville's police chief has banned his on-duty officers from Denny's after several detectives were told they couldn't have their guns inside — a dustup the restaurant calls a misunderstanding.
Police Capt. Donald Sax said the plain-clothed detectives had badges on their belts or around their necks while dining Tuesday morning, but a Denny's manager told them they needed to take their guns back to their cars. That request came after a diner saw an officer was armed and complained, Sax said.
Sax said that although a detective identified the diners as officers, the manager still insisted the guns go back to their cars, citing a posted company policy barring anyone other than uniformed officers from carrying their guns into the restaurant.
A Denny's general manager who saw the officers get up and refuse to pay for their meal told them the manager was mistaken, but the "embarrassed" detectives ignored the general manager's appeal for them to stay and left anyway, Sax said.
"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," Police Chief William Clay later declared in a statement outlining his order that his officers refrain from eating at that Denny's any time they're in uniform or on duty.
Police blamed the matter on "political stupidness."
Liz DiTrapano, a Denny's spokeswoman, called the situation "a misunderstanding," and insisted that "obviously, all law enforcement officers are permitted to carry their firearms in our restaurants."