Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell wrote on the department's Facebook page that a uniformed deputy went to a Kay Jewelers store in Statesville during lunch Tuesday to pick up the ring he had purchased.
Campbell said the manager met the deputy at the door and told him he couldn't enter the store while wearing the service weapon. The deputy told the manager removing the gun would violate department policy.
Campbell said the deputy left without the ring and called the encounter "difficult for us to comprehend."
“He was refused service because he was in a uniform,” Campbell told Fox 46 Charlotte. “That causes me great concern. Not just for us but for all law enforcement agency around.”
Campbell explained the reason the department has prohibited deputies from removing their service weapons.
“If an emergency happens, here’s what you have to expect from an officer: an officer is going to be armed. That’s tools of the trade,” Campbell said.
As of Thursday, the post garnered nearly 9,000 comments, with most in support of the deputy.
Kay Jewelers apologized on Twitter for "the mishandling of this matter," adding, "any member of law enforcement is always welcomed in our store at any time."