PATERSON — A technician working at a community blood drive was asked to leave after turning away police officers because they were wearing their service weapons.

The officers arrived at the McBride Avenue firehouse to make a donation on Wednesday but the tech told them the company had a policy about donors being armed, Mayor Andre Sayegh told the Paterson Press.

Members of the Mason Maher Paterson Superior Officers Association told the Press that officers have donated blood in uniform "for decades" and unsuccessfully offered to remove their weapons

Sayegh on Thursday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.

Michael Davenport, regional director of Vitalant in New Jersey, said in an email that the company regretted a "misunderstanding by one of our staff members about blood donation policy related to law enforcement wearing their service weapon while donating. We are actively looking into this matter, as well as any comments made, and will provide additional training for our staff."

Davenport said his company was grateful that Paterson hosted a blood drive and welcomes everyone who is eligible to donate, "especially our men and women in blue."

Vitalant is hosting 30 blood collections in North Jersey and New York during October to help enhance the blood supply which has fallen during the pandemic.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ