I am pleased to see that the parent company of Outback Steakhouse has apologized for the offensive actions of employees at a Cleveland, Tennessee Outback restaurant. If you didn’t catch this one, a Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officer was dining at the restaurant with his wife. He was in uniform, which as a sworn peace officer, includes a firearm on his duty belt. A manager approached the officer and suggested a customer was fearful of his weapon and if he would not put the weapon in his vehicle, he would have to leave the restaurant.

Folks! Who wouldn’t want a uniformed officer dining in a restaurant? Or shopping in a store? Or dropping off a child at school? Or pulling money out of the ATM? Law enforcement officers deserve our respect, our support, and our gratitude and most citizens are pleased to have uniformed officers in their presence.

To the manager of that restaurant, I say, where is your common sense? This officer is making most diners feel safer because he is there. My response to the diner who felt fearful would have been, “So you don’t feel safe? Then I assume you’re leaving.”

Law enforcement officers are the protective line between good and evil, danger and safety. We seek the presence of law enforcement officers when there is trouble. We call upon law enforcement officers to run toward danger, even if their own safety, their own lives are at risk. We ask them to make split-second decisions in order to protect lives. Law enforcement officers deserve to dine among us!

Responding to an email, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse told me it fully agrees that this situation in Tennessee was not handled correctly. “We have always welcomed law enforcement into our restaurants with their service weapons,” the email read. The company is now re-training the staff and reminded other restaurants of its policy regarding uniformed law enforcement officers.

I am glad to see that corrections and an apology were made, but this leaves a bad taste!