A doctor’s office clerk asked a police chief to leave his duty weapon in his car or leave the office in front of all in a waiting room. The chief chose to leave and took his case to social media.
“I will be looking for a new ENT, just asked to leave Dr. Burkes office because I am wearing my gun, badge, and ID, Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis posted to Facebook. “I have never been so embarrassed (pissed) in my 35 years of law enforcement. Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists.”
Chief Dupuis visited The Woodlands, Texas, office of Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists (Texas ENT) for a routine visit with a physician’s assistant. His regular doctor is located at the company’s Conroe facility.
“Officers should not be required to disarm or change out of their uniform while seeing their doctors or other professionals,” Dupuis wrote. “Of course, it is the right of every private business to serve who they wish, just as it is my right to not patronize any business that has such a policy or treats first responders this way.”
When the office staff asked him to take his gun to his car or leave, Dupuis showed them his badge and law enforcement credentials. That did not dissuade the office manager from enforcing the office’s “no gun” policy. Dupuis chose to leave rather than disarm. “I’m not gonna sit in an office without my gun when I have on everything else, with workplace violence and everything else going on in this society, I want to be armed and be able to react if I need to,” Dupuis told a local reporter.
Dupuis said a manager from the practice contacted him after he heard about the police chief’s post on Facebook. The manager said the office staff made a mistake.
“While the office has made general statements on Facebook that the actions of their employee(s) were out of line and improper, I ask them to affirmatively state that on duty or uniformed police officers that are displaying the proper credentials will not be treated this way in the future,” Dupuis wrote on his Facebook update.
Breitbart Texas obtained a response from Texas ENT spokesman Ryan Johnson:
We regret the situation that occurred on August 8, 2017 involving Chief Dupuis and a member of our staff. We have personally apologized to Chief Dupuis for any inconvenience or embarrassment he experienced. Our company values law enforcement officers and first responders for their selfless service and will serve them and our communities with the utmost respect.
Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists will continue to treat armed law enforcement officers who have the appropriate identification. Again, we sincerely apologize to Chief Dupuis for the situation and the embarrassment he may have felt. We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again in any of our locations.
Johnson told the Breitbart Texas he personally apologized to Chief Dupuis in a phone conversation after he learned of the incident from another patient.
The company confirmed in a Facebook post they have a long history of treating law enforcement officers who are wearing their duty weapons. Other patients who claim to be police officers confirmed they were treated in the past.
“This was a mistake by an employee and not our ‘policy.’ We have already communicated to all of the supervisors in all of the locations how this SHOULD have been handled,” the company posted on Facebook.
Johnson said Texas ENT recently opened its 16th location and looks forward to continuing to serve law enforcement officers as they have in the past.
Chief Dupuis said he is overwhelmed by the supportive response to his Facebook posting. His posting drew more than 1,300 “reactions” including more than 700 “angry” reactions. Facebook users shared his post nearly 3,000 times and more than 700 people posted comments.
“The unexpected overflow of support I have received over the last few days after the incident at Texas Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists has been overwhelming,” Dupuis wrote. “While what happened was unfortunate, your words of encouragement and support for law enforcement confirms my belief that Conroe and Montgomery County continue to be communities that support and love their first responders.”
“Based on your loud and clear support of local police and repudiation of this type of political correctness run amok, I think Texas, Ear Nose and Throat Specialists has heard the passionate voice of Montgomery County,” the police chief concluded. “I hope they respond appropriately and make a very public and clear statement that officers will not be treated this way in the future.”