SHELBY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A Cleveland County deputy was told to disarm himself in order to enter the Shelby Social Security Office, according to Sheriff Alan Norman.

The office is on the 700 block of Schenck Street near East Grover Street, and Norman said the deputy was working, visibly presenting himself as an officer, and stopped by the building to ‘conduct business.’

The sheriff further elaborated that a worker told the deputy to vacate the building, explaining that their manager had directed all employees to ask law enforcement officers to leave and only come back once unarmed.

“Following that directive would place a uniformed law enforcement officer in jeopardy,” Norman wrote in a Facebook post. “[It] would compromise their safety, especially in the treacherous times we are living in.”

Additionally, the manager told his employees to call 911 and report if an officer had entered the building, Norman stated. In this scenario, that 911 call was not made.

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After speaking with other sheriff’s offices around North Carolina, Norman says he discovered that is not the official policy at other Social Security Administrations.

SSA’s Regional Communications Director released the following statement to QCN regarding the incident:

“The Social Security Administration followed government-wide security policies established by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Protective Service (FPS). Generally, FPS policy allows Federal, State, and local law enforcement authorities who are armed to enter Federal offices while performing law enforcement functions. FPS prohibits State and local law enforcement from carrying firearms into Federal facilities while on personal business.  

Our understanding is the Sheriff’s Deputy entered a local Social Security office for personal business, not official duties.

We refer you to the following information on this policy on the DHS website.”

SSA officials also said that employees were not instructed to call 911 about the situation.

“I feel that you, as citizens and taxpayers, need to know how the manager of the Social Security Office in Shelby feels about law enforcement,” Norman said.