The manager of the Belleville Denny's served up a grand slam of boneheadedness on New Year's Day.
He angered the people he should most want in his corner -- the city's police officers. He told plain clothes detectives on a break that they could not be in the restaurant with their weapons.
What's really amazing is that this wasn't a case of identity confusion; he realized he was dealing with the police. Their badges and police radios were in clear sight; the conversation left no doubt. Still, the manager said either they or their guns had to go. Officers said he even told them a sign at the door stated that only uniformed office/rs could have a gun inside, although no such sign exists.
As we said, boneheaded.
Most restaurant managers welcome police officers to thank them for their service and have the extra security their presence provides. Bad guys aren't likely to rob a place if they see a police car parked outside. Convenience stores provide space for police substations for the same reason.
Denny's general manager told the officers on their way out the door that the manager was wrong, but too late. Situations like this escalate quickly. Chief Bill Clay banned officers on duty from going to Denny's, as well as off-duty officers in uniform.
On Thursday, cooler heads prevailed. The chief lifted the ban after Denny's delivered an apology -- and some coupons for free Grand Slam breakfasts perhaps?
The restaurant manager didn't get it, but the corporate folks understood the value of having the police as customers.