Denny's: Police with guns may eat at chain

Jan. 4, 2013 at 4:56 PM

BELLEVILLE, Ill., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Belleville, Ill., Police Chief William Clay has rescinded an order that officers not to eat at a restaurant where a detective was asked to take her gun outside.

Five on-duty detectives were eating at the restaurant New Year's Day when the manager told them a patron had raised a concern about a guest with a firearm. The detectives were in plainclothes -- three had badges clipped on their belts next to their firearms and the others had badges hanging from a chain around their necks, The Belleville News-Democrat said Wednesday.

The manager told a detective the restaurant had a policy that only uniformed officers could carry firearms inside and asked her to remove her gun or leave the premises. The detectives left the restaurant.

Clay had initially maintained the ban would stand, even after a Denny's Corp. spokesman told the newspaper the manager had been mistaken and company policy permits law enforcement officials to carry their weapons inside.

He banned on-duty police officers from patronizing the restaurant and order uniformed officers to avoid it Denny's while off-duty.

"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.

Police Capt. Donald Sax said Clay rescinded the order after Denny's national director for company operations, Van Catchings, apologized for the incident, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday.

"Mr. Catchings conveyed these actions were inconsistent with Denny's corporate policy, which welcomes any law enforcement officer to carry their weapon while inside their restaurants," Sax said in a news release.

Clay said the matter "has been made right" and he plans to eat at Denny's.

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