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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI)â€“ The Belleville Chief of Police has banned his officers from eating at the local Dennyâ€™s restaurant while on duty after an incident at the establishment New Yearâ€™s Day. A manager at the Dennyâ€™s Tuesday told a group of officers they could not eat at the restaurant if they were armed. Belleville Police Captain Don sax said, â€śItâ€™s absolutely a slap in the face I totally agree itâ€™s completely disrespectful. How can anyone think to tell a police officer you canâ€™t be in here with your gun its absurd to me.â€ť
Five on-duty but out of uniform detectives were in the middle of their meal at the Dennyâ€™s. The restaurant chain said a customer spotted one of the officers carrying a gun and alerted the manager. The manager told the detective she would have to leave or secure the gun in her car, that guns are not allowed in Dennyâ€™s. Even after the officers explained they were cops they were still told they could not carry their weapons in the business. Captain Sax said, â€śIâ€™ve never known anybody that didnâ€™t want a police officer present in an establishment in a business itâ€™s added security itâ€™s absolutely what they want.â€ť
Sax said the police had their badges in full view, either by their handguns or they were wearing them around their necks. Plus, portable police radios were on the table. A second manager showed up and told the officers they could stay with their weapons. But, the detectives left anyway. Captain Sax added, â€śThey had been harassed enough they have been embarrassed more than enough.â€ť
Local citizens like Jennifer Veri support the police, Veri said, â€śYou want them to be with their guns that makes them cops so they can protect the public.â€ť
Denny released a statement that said in part â€śDennyâ€™s policy permits law enforcement officials to carry their firearms in the restaurant and we regret any misunderstanding.â€ť
Some people plan to stay away from Dennyâ€™s just like the police. Eric Veri said, â€śI wonâ€™t go to Dennyâ€™s until they resolve it with the Belleville Police Dept. they are working out here hard for us definitely support them.â€ť The police chief wants to sit down with Dennyâ€™s officials and resolve the matter. He planned to handle the matter discreetly but it became public on the internet and spread quickly. Officers will go to Dennyâ€™s if they receive a service call.