HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - An off-duty Madison city police officer went to the Von Braun Center with his family Friday to watch the Havoc play Friday, but he said something "strange" happened. He was pulled aside near the metal detectors at the entrance and told he couldn't bring his gun inside the VBC.
Detective Wesley Grigsby said he had his credentials, but VBC staffers told him only Madison County deputies and Huntsville police can carry inside the VBC.
The incident is prompting a question in the community: Should off-duty officers be able to carry their guns wherever they go?
WAFF 48 News asked people at Big Spring Park.
"I think people like us, we shouldn't," Jodie Stover said. "But the cops, they should have a right to."
Others differed in opinion.
"The key word is 'off-duty.' They're humans, not superheroes," Morgan Jones said. "If they're not on duty, they shouldn't be carrying a weapon."
Friday's Havoc game at the Von Braun Center boasted a sellout crowd. Grigsby's question is why does the VBC not allow other state-certified officers to carry, why just Huntsville police and Madison County.
WAFF 48 reached out to a VBC spokesperson who said they're not commenting on the incident. They said they're working on the policy with the security team and ensured us she'll send it over as soon as they finish the policy.
A few other people at Big Spring Park had input on the subject:
"They've already been trained to carry a gun…the officer has already been trained so there's a good possibility he'll do a good job," said Leslie Relph, who was in favor for off-duty officers carrying guns.
"If someone's trying to kill someone, they could snatch the gun and start shooting up everyone. No, I don't feel like they should carry a gun. I mean we can't, so why should they?" Debony Pettie said.
We got in touch with the Madison City Police Department's chief of police, David Jernigan. He said there are no hard feelings whatsoever between the VBC and Madison police. He said he called the VBC and they will sit down together in the coming weeks to review the policy.
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