Cops were banned from Denny's after bringing their guns into an Illinois restaurant on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2013, but it wasn't the restaurant that banned them. It was Belleville Police Chief Bill Clay who made the decision after hearing how the cops were treated at the establishment. The police chief decreed that an exception could be made only if the police were responding to an emergency at the restaurant.
Five on-duty police detectives wearing badges and carrying weapons were eating at the restaurant when the manager of the Belleville Denny's location advised them that a customer had complained their guns were making her "uncomfortable," according to CBS affiliate WFMY News 2. The manager gave one of the detectives a choice: put the weapon in the car or leave the restaurant. They left the restaurant. When Police Chief Bill Clay learned of the incident, he banned the cops from Denny's, but that's not where the story ends.
After Denny's released a statement clarifying their position on firearms -- they are permitted inside the restaurant when in possession of law enforcement agents -- Van Catchings, who is the Director of Company Operations for Denny's, met with members of the police department to discuss the incident and offer an apology. The restaurant manager also offered free food to police who visit the 1130 South Illinois Street on Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. In response, the police chief lifted the ban and issued a gracious statement accepting the company's apology:
"I am a fan of 'Social Media'; I use it and rely upon it often. This same technology sometimes puts an issue in the public domain that should be resolved in private face to face meetings. Denny's on South Illinois is a Belleville business. They pay sales tax and provide employment for many Belleville residents. I have patronized Denny's in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I harbor no grudges! This was an unfortunate incident by an individual employee; it has been made right."