Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg said in 35 years in law enforcement he's never had a store tell him that he would have to leave his service weapon in the car or leave — especially when he was in his police uniform.
But that's what happened July 4 in the Ikea in College Park when Goldberg had stopped in with his daughter.
Goldberg was in uniform because he had worked that morning at the city's July 4 parade, and would be back on duty that night for fireworks.
In between, he stopped at Ikea to shop for furniture for his daughter's new apartment. And that's when a loss-prevention officer at the store approached him.
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"He says we have a no firearms policy, and you're either going to have to leave or you can lock your gun in the car," Goldberg said.
The store has signs posted on the front door that read "Weapons Free Environment."
Neither of those options seemed a good one to the officer.
"It isn't the most prudent thing to do to walk around the store in uniform with an empty holster," Goldberg said. "And I am not going to lock my gun in a commercial parking lot, with people watching me put it in there. That's just ludicrous."
The chief demanded to see the store's written policy, but he only got it Monday after News4 contacted Ikea. The retailer released this statement:
We regret that there was a misunderstanding of our weapon policy in our College Park Store. Our weapon policy does not apply to law enforcement officers. We are taking steps to ensure that this is clear for all our co-workers.
Goldberg, who was so angry at the store's response Friday that he posted about it on Facebook, said Monday that response satisfies him.
And it also satisfied shoppers that News4 spoke to at Ikea.
Many shoppers, like Arthur Marshall, said that retailers' no-gun policies should "maybe have an exception for police officers."
It also seems the chief's concerns have made a difference: Monday, at least three armed police officers were seen at the College Park Ikea store at lunchtime.