Conroe, TX - Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis is looking for a new ENT doctor after he was asked to leave a doctor's office on Tuesday, August 8, because he was wearing his duty-issued firearm.
The incident occurred Tuesday about 4 PM at the Texas Ear Nose and Throat Specialists office in the 3900 block of Pinecroft Drive, according to The Courier.
Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis told The Courier that he went to the office to be seen, and was wearing his firearm, his badge which was in plain view on the front of his belt, and his police identification card hanging around his neck on a lanyard.
Chief Dupuis said that he started to check in, and gave the receptionist his driver's license and insurance card. She then asked him about his gun, and asked him to take the firearm out to his car. He refused, and told the receptionist that he was a police officer. The receptionist then asked him to leave.
He said, "It's just bad. 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."
Chief Dupuis said that he "didn't think twice about it because I can and do carry everywhere." The Chief said "I carry to protect myself and I carry to protect my family and the public."
Texas law allows a certified police officer to legally open carry anywhere within the state. Chief Dupuis did acknowledge that despite the law, a private business or property owner can create "weapons-free zones". He said that the ENT's office could ask him to leave because he wasn't there on official business.
"I will be looking for a new ENT, just asked to leave Dr Burkes office because I am wearing my gun, badge, and ID. I have never been so embarrassed (pissed) in my 35 years of law enforcement. Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists."
In response, Ryan Johnson, office manager for the ENT office, called Chief Dupuis to apologize. He said that they had the same sign as most doctor's offices. That sign doesn't specify if it's talking about open or concealed carry firearms that are prohibited. He said, "Mr. Dupuis identified himself as a police officer. This situation simply should not have happened."
Johnson said that none of the doctors at the practice were aware at the time of what was going on. He said, "This was a mistake. 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."