After Conroe Chief of Police Philip Dupuis walked into the Texas Ear Nose and Throat Specialists office in The Woodlands Tuesday afternoon and started to check in, the receptionist didn't exactly give him a warm welcome.
Dupuis told the Courier of Montgomery County he was wearing his badge on his belt in plain sight as well as his Conroe PD identification on a lanyard around his neck.
But when the receptionist took his driver's license and insurance card, Dupuis told the paper she noticed something else he was carrying on his belt: His handgun.
With that, the receptionist asked him to take his gun out to his car, he told the Courier.
But Dupuis — a 35-year law enforcement veteran who's never experienced an accidental discharge — refused to disarm himself and told the receptionist he's a police officer, the paper said.
Then he was asked to leave, Dupuis told the Courier.
"It's just bad," he told the paper. "My badge is clearly displayed. I have my lanyard on with 'police' on my ID card hanging around my neck. I had handcuffs. The lobby was full of people, and they asked me to leave because of who I am."
Texas law states that licensed police officer can open carry anywhere in the state, the Courier noted.
"I didn't think twice about it because I can and do carry everywhere," Dupuis added to the paper. "I carry to protect myself and I carry to protect my family and the public."
But the chief also said a private business or property owner can create "weapons-free" zones, the Courier reported, and that signage prohibiting concealed carry and open carry, respectively, must be displayed
"These people have the right to do what they did and refuse my service," Dupuis told the paper. "Legally, they can ask me to leave because I'm not there on official business."
Dupuis hopped on Facebook to vent his frustration, the Courier said: "I will be looking for a new ENT, just asked to leave ... because I am wearing my gun, badge, and ID. I have never been so embarrassed ... in my 35 years of law enforcement. ..."
Soon Ryan Johnson, the doctor's office manager, called Dupuis to apologize. Johnson told the paper that the Texas Ear Nose and Throat Specialists office has the same signage regarding guns as any other doctor's office — but it's unclear if that signage prohibits both open and concealed carry.
"Mr. Dupuis identified himself as a police officer," Johnson told the Courier. "This situation simply should not have happened."
He told the paper that none of the doctors were aware of the situation.
"This was a mistake," Johnson said. "All we can do is sincerely apologize for it and will use it to teach our employees how to better handle these situations when they arise."
Dupuis, who has two children who want to be police officers someday, told the Courier the experience got him thinking twice about encouraging them toward law enforcement.
"After a day like today, I want to come home and try and talk them out of it," he told the paper. "I shouldn't have to talk my children out of being in a profession that I have loved for so long and has provided for me and my family a good life. When I see something like this, I don't want my kids going through this."
(H/T: Bearing Arms)