Washington

Sheriff outraged after being forced to disarm before entering hockey arena

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.  (Fox 28)

In one Washington state arena, a sheriff effectively had to toss his gun in the penalty box.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he was outraged Saturday night when he was prevented from entering the Spokane Arena to promote a charity hockey game, because he was carrying his gun -- even though he was on duty.

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“This is bureaucracy and bureaucrats run wild. I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” he told Fox 28. “It makes zero sense.”

Knezovich said he was told by security that he would have to take off the gun and leave it outside due to an arena policy. The arena’s website lists “weapons” as one of the prohibited items inside the facility.

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“I can understand if we are off duty, if there’s liquor being sold there, I can understand that. But when you are on duty and representing the county at an event, I’ve just never heard anything like this,” Knezovich told Fox 28.

Knezovich said he removed his gun since he had to get inside and planned to raise the issue with management later.

Kevin Twohig, the executive director of the public facilities district that runs the arena, said on-duty officers in uniform are allowed to keep their guns, but off-duty officers aren’t.

“If they’re not in uniform how would we know they’re on duty?” he told The Spokesman-Review.

Knezovich said he was wearing a badge on his suit.