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Deputy Not Allowed to Bring Duty Weapon Into Atlanta Theater

February 12, 2016  | 

A local sheriff's deputy escorting a group of fifth-grade students on a field trip to the Fox Theater in Atlanta said he was told to stand outside because he was carrying his service weapon, reports WSB-TV.

Monday, Sergeant Jack Gilroy was assigned to escort 60 fifth-grade students and their teachers from Stark Elementary School to the Fox Theater for a field trip.

Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said it's standard procedure for an on-duty deputy to escort kids on all sporting events and field trips. "It gives a sense of security to parents at work or home," Long said.

Gilroy said a Fox Theater security officer asked him to leave the building or store his service weapon in his vehicle.

"How would the owner of the Fox explain if a shooting happened and here's a Butts County deputy sitting inside the theater without a weapon?" Long said.

Gilroy decided to keep his weapon and stand outside the theater for nearly three hours.

A Fox Theater spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News their policy allows on-duty, uniformed law enforcers to enter the theater with their weapon. They released a statement that said, "We plan to review our policies with the staff to ensure that procedures are clear moving forward."

Gilroy said the security company called him to apologize.

The Fox Theater says law enforcement need to check in with security when they enter.


Comments (28)

Displaying 1 - 28 of 28

J.Johnson retired Deputy @ 2/13/2016 7:42 AM

This is just beyond silly and this "movement" for gun free zones to include Law Enforcement needs to be halted. These establishments should be boycotted by Law Enforcement, their supporters and those children's parents. These businesses understand one thing and that is "money". All Law Enforcement through their respective unions, associations and FOP needs to organize together and fight as one common voice. If an establishment in one locale treats Law Enforcement in a rude or discriminating manor, than all establishments everywhere should be boycotted and send a message that Law Enforcement shall not be treated that way. Hurt them in their wallet and you will get their attention.

Leonard @ 2/13/2016 12:57 PM

Frankly, I don't have a problem with businesses banning weapons from their premises. I do believe an exemption should be made for ON DUTY uniformed officers as they are acting in official LE capacity at that time.

Sgt Hartman @ 2/13/2016 5:40 PM

Let me guess; the security guard who denied the deputy entry was disgruntled because he couldn't get a job as a real cop. I'll bet he had a great story to tell his pals when he got home to his mom's basement & hit Facebook.

plato's playdough @ 2/14/2016 3:24 AM

Legitimate question: Was the security company's policy properly articulated? Surely he acted according to company policy.... right?

plato's playdough @ 2/14/2016 3:29 AM

Look what happened in a Panera Bread Restaurant....

See Article at

http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/news/2016/02/12/son-gunman-who-killed-maryland-deputies-violent-abusive-to-family.aspx?utm_campaign=OnTarget-Saturday-New-20160213&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Robert @ 2/14/2016 7:54 AM

J Johnson....how was the LEO discriminated against?
Did the security service let people other than the LEO in with guns?

It appears what you really don't like is being treated like any other citizen?

OldVa lawdog @ 2/14/2016 9:17 AM

@Robert - Couple of questions for you. 1. Was the deputy singled out for special negative treatment? Did the theatre security officer act in a prejudicial manner toward the deputy? You would have to say yes to both since the theatre spokesman admitted the security officer was wrong to have done that and apologized to the deputy. Both are accepted definitions of discrimination. He was on-duty at the time acting in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer. The only two times I've secured my weapon while on duty is when I enter the booking area to the jail or entered a federal courthouse.

Wangofsngo @ 2/14/2016 10:30 AM

Was he wearing uniform or plainclothes (the deputy)?

EODK9Trainer @ 2/15/2016 6:18 AM

Why does it matter if in uniform or plainclothes? He was on duty.

Anthony @ 2/15/2016 1:32 PM

Someone in that theater needs a kick in the pants. Such an absurdity needs to be remedied and their policy reviewed. This, while being silly and politically correct, is now becoming just dangerous.

Dave @ 2/15/2016 1:35 PM

@Robert - Law Enforcement IS different than any other citizen Robert. They have been trained and have sworn to protect and defend. Hard to do that when some yahoo thinks it's ok to disarm our police on their property. Rightfully so, the deputy refused to disarm. Woe to them had this not been straightened out. Anything happens at that theater, the victims, if they are still alive and able to, can come in to the sheriff's office for the report since their officers/deputies were not welcome there. Any officer knows better than to follow a requirement to disarm by a citizen.

J.Johnson @ 2/15/2016 2:04 PM

@Robert the LEO are being discriminated against in that any other citizen has not sworn an oath to protect and an LEO is expected by the same public to respond to an emergency, whereas a citizen does not have to. The firearm that the officer carries is a necessary tool that is to be used for protection of himself and the public. Robert, would you have all officers go unarmed? Would you respond to a possible violent encounter without a firearm? I bet not.

steve LoPiccolo @ 2/15/2016 2:28 PM

the security guard is mentally unbalanced, thats for sure !

UncleMike @ 2/15/2016 2:34 PM

Several years ago we had a Deputy on a felony warrant service who was told that he had to leave his sidearm in his squad car or he couldn't enter a factory to serve the warrant.
He told the Factory Supervisor to stuff it up his rear and get out of his way or he would be taken to jail, along with the subject of the felony warrant, for interfering with an Officer in the performance of his sworn duty.
The Supervisor called the Sheriff.
The Sheriff told him to avoid pissing the Deputy off.
The Sheriff then called the company top management and advised them that his Deputies would no longer respond to ANY situation at the factory until he received written assurance that his Deputies would not be met with such stupidity in the future.
He got his written assurance the next morning.

Tom Ret @ 2/15/2016 2:47 PM

In today's world, I believe the officer should have cancelled the event. Hopefully, the chief would contact the theatre and set them straight. If the officer can't come into the theatre while armed while escorting children, then why should he be allowed if responding to a robbery or man with a gun call or any other reason. Robert comes across as an idiot but understandable so since he is not in law enforcement and has no experience. Law enforcement have a duty to respond to violations of the law including armed encounters unlike civilians and is why many agencies require their officers to be armed, even off duty. Back in the day, I would have probably ignored the security guard or just told him to call the head shed if he didn't like it. I'm confident the chief would have told security to get his head out of his ass and quit interfering with the officer and that his request was ridiculous. As a supervisor that is what I would have told him in no uncertain terms.

Tom Ret @ 2/15/2016 2:51 PM

The situation mentioned never came up in my 3 decades in law enforcement or any other business because the request at least use to be considered ridiculous.

Robert @ 2/15/2016 3:30 PM

Amazing how many here don't seem to know the LAW:
1. A LEO who is 50 miles from his jurisdiction has NO legal requirement to respond to a crime being committed. The SD in this case was out of his jurisdiction (and not in 'hot pursuit'). The LEO can intervene if needed or wants to help..and they are still a sworn LEO of the state. But their duty ends with their jurisdiction.
2. IF the LEO witnesses a felony in process...they would be allowed to effect an arrest (in most states).
3. I do not know the official policy of the department in question...but I bet it mirrors the law. The SD may have been required to carry his weapon...but #2 still applies.
4. This was private property, the owner of such can invite anyone they want in...and impose any restriction on that entrance (that doesn't break an equal opportunity or access law).
5. It is legal to discriminate in this country...not nice, but legal...except against a protected class. LEO are not a protected class.

Clay @ 2/15/2016 7:37 PM

You don't get it. These people that work these jobs are paid very low wages and have their "handbook" drilled into them. They are just doing their job. They don't get discretion.

WALT @ 2/16/2016 7:30 AM

Was the security guards name Robert by chance? Is sure seems like it.

Brian @ 2/16/2016 8:39 AM

It takes a real officer to understand how screwed up this whole situation is. You never disarm for anyone, and unless it's a Federal Bldg. no business has the authority to even suggest you surrender your weapon before entering the business. This officer was in the official capacity of his duties, and is a Constitutional Officer for the State of Georgia.

Tom Ret @ 2/16/2016 10:32 AM

Generally, as a security guard, you are instructed to take no action but observe and report and have a duty to retreat in the face of danger if possible. What is this security guard going to do if the officer disregarded his request that he not come in armed, call the police, or fight him for his gun? According to this security guard's thinking, the police he would likely want to complain to if the officer didn't comply would have to leave their guns in the car before they could enter. I suppose it is the current pc culture that has made cops afraid to act or take control of the situation if someone objects or be intimidated by a security guard. Before this current pc bs existed, even security guards, who couldn't make it as cops, weren't dumb enough to tell a cop he couldn't come into a business with his gun. It boils down to a disrespect for law enforcement and the officer involved. In the past, officers told security guards the way it was going to be, not the other way around.

aaron @ 2/16/2016 11:01 AM

ok first off Robert is an asshat who found his security guard manual and scribble my laws on it there is no 50 mile rule ( where do they get this crap)unless he live in liberal land.
second as a law enforcement officer I am required to be armed off duty anywhere I go by departmental and commonwealth policies and statutes.
third the "law" does not say I am allowed get involved in a felony situation outside of my patrol area it says I SHALL which means in asshat terms Iam ordered to do so.
fourth it doesn't have a thing to do with being a protected class its about being the class that protect your dumb ass.
Please le us not forget Leonard who is all for disarming police except when on duty duhh police are on duty 24/7 they only get paid for 7.he would be the first to sue when something was to happen and an "off duty" officer didn't help him or stop the incident.
Robert put your daddy's true crime magazines back in the closet and Leonard please stay in the house

Det1397 @ 2/19/2016 8:20 AM

Unfortunately here in the Metro NYC area, the policy of private venues not allowing off duty cary seems to be widening! The Long Island Rail Road encourages armed off duty officers to ride their trains and even issue train passes. But once you get to NYC and visit places like Madison Square Garden, The Beacon Theater, the 9/11 and World Trade Center venues, just to name a few, entry is prohibited with your firearm.
I don't know how these venues think this policy is a safe one but I will tell you that the policies are written in stone.

Ric Walters @ 2/19/2016 8:22 AM

I don't know about Georgia, but in most jurisdictions state law says that a peace officer is on duty at all times, regardless of whether they're actually working an assigned shift. State law trumps private regulations, and those places that feel "special" need to be reminded of that.

TX Lawman @ 2/19/2016 10:02 AM

I hope theSergeant put the security gaurd in jail. That's what would happen here in Texas.

BULLITT4193 @ 2/19/2016 11:00 PM

I have been on both sides of the fence as a commissioned Special Police Officer for the local Board of Education and have worked for the US Gov't as a contracted Security Officer. I now work as a Security FTO/Corporal for a Hospital. A total of 27 years in the field. All rules are different in different places. We have no WRITTEN policy about OFF DUTY or Retired officers being allowed into the hospital while armed - but Management discourages any OFF DUTY officer/Retiree from carrying in the facility.
It goes against the better judgement of our Security Officers (many of whom are retired LEOs and Military persons) but it is Managements decision - we do have to follow the procedure for everyones' safety. Judgement calls are advanced to the LT shift supervisor.
Uniformed LEOs are only asked if they need assistance or info.
Not all Security Officers are dumb, low wage types. They get stuck in the middle of inflexible rules with no guidance.

SgtD @ 2/20/2016 8:27 AM

So, Robert-It's apparent you're disgruntled with and/or ignorant of law enforcement protocols, so let, us educate you:
1) Jurisdiction ends at the STATE line with most states, regardless of the severity of the crime unless as you and most Tarantino fans know it's a "hot pursuit".
2) If the officer was from another state he would be entitled to bring his sidearm into another state if he was in compliance with that states laws insofar as law enforcement recognition by that state.
There are other reasons but perhaps you already have first-hand knowledge of those from whatever encounters you've had with law enforcement in some fashion...
SgtD

Manuel Gonzalez Jr. @ 2/20/2016 10:11 PM

All These Gun Free Zones Is Just Another Legal Loop Hole That Allows People Against Law Abiding Citizen's To Have A C.P.L. And Carrying A Weapon. That Is Why Criminal's And Now Terrorist's Love To Target Gun Free Zones. Because These Shit Head's Know They Are Not Going To Get Shot Back. As For That Deputy, That Was Totally Wrong What That Security Guard Did.

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