Oklahoma Police Officer, Hospital Dispute Over Sidearm

Thursday, March 19th 2015, 11:43 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A hospital in Henryetta refused treatment for a police officer Thursday because he wouldn't give up his weapon.

The hospital said their no weapons policy applies to everyone.

The officer is the police chief in Boley, and the hospital was the Henryetta office of Hillcrest.

The same thing could happen in Tulsa because Hillcrest said their policy is clear, no weapons allowed, and that applies even to uniformed, on duty police officers if they're at the hospital for treatment.

Boley Police Chief Kevin Collins never thought a routine follow up with his doctor would create such a stir.

“I've never been asked, ever, in 20 years, have I been asked to disarm,” Collins said.

His visit to Hillcrest Henryetta turned into a standoff when the Hospital's Chief Nursing Officer refused to let him see his doctor as long as he had a firearm on his belt.

“And she told me once I walked in the hospital I lost my police rights, so I have to disarm. And she refused to let me see the surgeon, so I didn't get the medical care I was supposed to have today,” Collins said.

It's not uncommon for buildings to have a ban on firearms, but it usually doesn't apply to officers.

In a statement, Hillcrest said:

“Leadership made the determination, based on information provided by the patient that he was out of his jurisdiction and was at the hospital as a patient. All facilities within our system have a strict no-weapons policy that applies to our patients, visitors and employees. This policy is clearly stated at each entrance. The patient refused to secure his weapon therefore follow up care was rescheduled.”

Tulsa Sheriff's Office Major Shannon Clark said bans on sidearms at private businesses don't apply to certified officers.

"It happens a lot more than you might realize," he said. “We can still carry our firearms inside a private business, a private company.”

At the same time, private businesses have the right to refuse service for any reason which is what happened to Collins.

But, it's what happened as he left the waiting room, with several veterans watching, that made him sure he did the right thing.

"They applauded me for not doing what the lady wanted me to do and disarm, so it made me feel pretty good because we don't normally get that kind of appreciation," Collins said.

After News On 6 asked Hillcrest about the situation, Collins said the hospital said it would make a onetime exception to allow him to be seen with his firearm, but otherwise the policy would stand, unchanged.