On New Year’s Day, five on duty detectives of the Belleville, Illinois police department went to a local Denny’s Restaurant for a meal. As they were eating, a manager of the restaurant approached the table and told one of the detectives that she had to take her gun outside the restaurant. The detectives displayed their badges and showed the manager the police radios setting on the table. However, the manager insisted that the gun had to leave the premises because another customer complained that it made her nervous. He told them that only uniformed officers were allowed to carry a gun inside the restaurant.
Initially, the detectives thought the manager was joking around with them, but it soon became apparent that it wasn’t a joke. The general manager of the restaurant then told the detectives that it was okay for them stay, but the damage had been done. The incident had already caused a commotion and the detectives felt embarrassed and awkward, so they opted to leave the restaurant and their meals.
A spokesperson for Denny’s said the whole thing was an unfortunate case of miscommunication and that they do allow both uniformed and plain clothes police officers to carry their weapons inside their restaurants.
However, the Belleville police chief has decided to ban all members of the city’s police department from eating at Denny’s while on duty. Capt. Don Sax, told Fox News:
“The Belleville Police Department is very disheartened by the lack of respect shown to on-duty sworn police officers. Until further notice all on duty Belleville Police officers are banned from Denny’s Restaurant unless responding to an official call for service.”
The whole thing started when one customer felt uncomfortable and complained. The manager should have gone over to the customer and explained that they were all on duty police detectives and that the customer should feel more secure and protected knowing that the detectives were there. But as in so many cases today, the complaint of one person infringes on the rights of others, whose rights are not even considered.
Because of the stupidity of the manager giving in to one whiny customer, I hope that Denny’s not only loses the business of the police department but that they lose a lot more business as well.