San Luis Obispo police chief accused of coverup over stolen gun

July 25, 2019

Chief Deanna Cantrell

Clarification: The chief left her personal weapon, a Glock 42 which holds six rounds, in the restroom and not her department issued gun. Sean Greenwood called the SLO Police Department at 7 p.m. on July 11 to report he had the chief’s gun.


The search for the pistol that San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell lost in a bathroom stall resulted in an apparently illegal search of a home without a warrant and the arrest of a couple on charges of child neglect for having a messy house. And, new information points to Cantrell’s efforts to keep the news of her loss quiet despite her claim that she immediately reported the stolen gun. [Cal Coast Times]

Cantrell left her pistol, a Glock with a 6-round magazine, in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant about noon on July 10. A short time later, Cantrell realized she did not have her weapon and returned to the restaurant bathroom. The pistol was not there.

In contrast to Cantrell’s claim that she immediately reported her gun stolen, several officers said her attempt to cover-up the theft of her gun risked officer safety and led to the search of the home of a man incorrectly identified as the person suspected of taking the chief’s gun.

Typically, after a loaded police firearm is stolen, a be on the lookout (BOLO) is put out to area law enforcement not only to help quickly recover the stolen weapon, but also to protect officer and public safety.

However, for the first two hours, Cantrell conducted the investigation into her stolen gun without reporting the theft. Cantrell checked surveillance footage at the restaurant and saw that three people had entered the restroom after her, two of whom were still in the restaurant and did not have her gun, Cantrell said.

Two hours after Cantrell discovered her gun was missing, she called police dispatch and asked police department employee Christine Steeb to call her back, cell phone to cell phone, in an apparent attempt to keep the call from being recorded, said a SLO police officer, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his employment. Steeb said the chief provided information about her lost gun on a non-recorded line because of issues with the city’s phone system.

“The call fell off so I called her back on my cell phone,” Steeb said.

A call of lost property is listed in the dispatch log at 2:09 p.m.

The last person, who was the first to enter the restroom after Cantrell left, was not in the restaurant when the chief returned to look for her firearm. The man, later identified as 30-year-old Skeeter Carlos Mangan of Los Osos, was shown in the video –  clean-shaven, balding and wearing a black jacket and shorts.

Shortly before 7 p.m., a group of five detectives were dispatched to a home on O’Connor Way after an officer said a man who lived in the home resembled the man in the video. However, the dispatch log shows the officers were sent to El Pollo Loco on Los Osos Valley Road for a lost property report.

The group of police drew the attention of a man living in the house with his wife and two children.

The man, who is not being identified by CalCoastNews, came out to ask the officers what was going on. The man had a full beard and mustache.

Skeeter Mangan

Even so, detectives Jason Dickel and Suzie Walsh told the man that they knew he had stolen the chief’s pistol and ordered him to tell them where it was, the man said. He told the officers he had been in Atascadero with his wife and two children at a medical appointment and that he had not been at El Pollo Loco in SLO.

The man’s wife and the couple’s two daughters also came out of the house and spoke with officers. The wife said she offered to call the doctor so he could confirm they were in Atascadero at the time the gun was stolen, but the detectives said no. The wife said she heard several officers noting her husband clearly was not the clean-shaven man seen in the video.

Walsh then asked the man if she could search his home. He asked if she had a warrant.

“Jason Dickel said I was on probation and he did not need a warrant,” the man said. “I told him I had court documents showing it was another family member who was on probation, but he did not want to see the documents. He said ‘you have the gun and we are going in to get it.’”

After the officers entered the house and kicked down the parents’ bedroom door, they arrested the man and his wife on charges of child neglect. The house was unclean, officers said, and they took the children into county custody. The girls, 7 and 9, remained in the police station until after 2 a.m. the next day, the man’s wife said.

In support of removing the children from their parents’ custody, Carrie Bailey, a county social worker, claimed a photograph taken in the parents’ bedroom of paraphernalia was taken in the children’s bedroom. When asked about the misstatement, Debra Barriger, a deputy county counsel, said the county is not permitted to disclose information about child custody issues.

At 7:30 p.m., more than seven hours after the chief’s gun was stolen. SLO police patrol officers were notified for the first time that the chief had lost her gun, a patrol officer said.

In contrast to Cantrell’s timeline, SLO County Sheriff Chief Deputy Aaron Nix said that between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 10, SLO Police Department employees requested the sheriff’s department assist them in finding the gun. A sheriff watch commander then asked why they had not informed area law enforcement through a BOLO alert, and gave SLO police dispatch a 30 minute window to send out an officer safety BOLO alert to area law enforcement.

“We inquired as to whether they intended to put out an Officer Safety BOLO,” Nix said. “SLOPD Dispatch advised they did intend to send out a BOLO and we offered to assist them in that regard. We told them we would re-contact them in about a half an hour to check on their progress, and we later confirmed they had in fact put out the BOLO.”

At approximately 7 p.m. on July 11, Mangan’s brother-in-law Sean Greenwood called the SLO Police Department to report he and Mangan had the chief’s gun, Greenwood said. Cantrell then sent officers to Los Osos to retrieve the firearm.

Following a two-day investigation, SLO City Manager Derek Johnson fined Cantrell $1,600 for violating city policy regarding keeping weapons concealed at all times. Johnson praised Cantrell for her “integrity throughout the incident.”

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She raided a couple’s house without a warrant in her frantic efforts to hide her mistake as result she pushes a case of child endangerment to cover that and the couple is in jail and their children in custody of CPS.She forced her subordinates to play along with the cover up like SLO is her own personal Banana Republic and she is the dictator and she wants to pretend to be transparent. What does she take the citizens of San Luis Obispo for, a bunch of boobs????

Personally I believe it’s a waste of time with SLO’s endless marches and vigils that in the end accomplish absolutely nothing as nothing changes. Here is your chance to organize a massive march aimed at showing the city leaders how disgusted you are over this. Call in the media and let them film and ask questions. This already has national coverage, keep that ball rolling until you all get what you desire as an outcome which should be Cantrell’s badge and the city attorney and managers resignation to start. DO NOT FORGET the city manager answers to the council and mayor, so dont let them off the hook either ultimately they are the root of this debacle.


I encourage all citizens to read this link, as it portrays SLO City Police Chief Deanna Cantrell as the incompetent police chief she, in fact, is. We pay top dollar for her services and the taxpayers have been getting ripped off.

Violating the civil liberties of the very citizens you are sworn to protect is the hallmark of a poor law enforcement official, and Ms. Cantrell’s excuses are wearing thin.

We deserve better.

So given this is California, and regular citizens have a hard time getting a permit to carry a firearm, what would happen to a regular citizen with a concealed carry permit who left their firearms somewhere and no one was injured? Would the SLO PD just shrug their shoulders, hand the gun back to the owner and say “no harm, no foul”? Or would the gun owner immediately lose their permit, the gun they were carrying, and possibly any other guns they own, and face felony charges? Govt employees should not get special treatment under the law.

We, The People have made our wishes clear:

1. We desire a criminal enterprise in the guise of a police department

2. We demand strict laws that severely punish those who break them

3. We expect police to pay close attention to these laws, and we congratulate them and praise them for enforcing on us.

4. We understand and agree that police are not subject to the laws they enforce on us. Ditto government in general.

5. We, The People have agreed to pretend that police work is dangerous and we use this fantasy to help with the cognitive dissonance that stories like this one bring….

6. We are happy to fling away our rights and become obedient to whatever a costumed government employee might order us to do….knowing full well we deserve to be shot and killed for disobedience.

Therefore, OF COURSE THE HYPOTHETICAL CCW PERMIT HOLDER WOULD LOSE THEIR GUN AND BE CHARGED WITH A FELONY! That’s the law! We’ve demanded that police enforce these laws on us, at our expense. No one is above the law….but the laws do not apply to everyone.

Police and government employees are better people, endowed with more rights. They shouldn’t have to be subject to these laws. They are above the law. The People have spoken.

Well said, lol

The word “immediately” is used in the Chief’s video tape linked to this story:

“I immediately viewed the video tape”.

“This was reported to my supervisor and law enforcement immediately and entered into a national data base”.

The Chief’s statement is made In this order.

It appears she did her own investigation (viewing the tape) BEFORE alerting her supervisor, BEFORE alerting law enforcement and BEFORE the lost gun was entered into the national data base.

Someone who knows police procedures please reply, shouldn’t SLO PD have contacted the Sheriff’s Department before going to a house in Los Osos?

First of all Chief Cantrell should have contacted her dispatch and demanded a BOLO (be on the look out) for the lost firearm, this is standard proto~call for public safety. Los Osos is San luis obispo county sheriff jurisdiction and YES she should have made contact with other agencies before entering the property, and as for the SLO Detectives that entered this home unlawfully under her direction should be stripped of there badges as well..they knew what they were doing was dirty work…

Detectives that entered this home unlawfully under her direction should be stripped of there badges as well..they knew what they were doing was dirty work…

Dickle has been doing dirty work for a long time. His name has come up several times and if I’m not mistaken he’s been involved in “dirty work” that has cost the department many hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts to victims.

Today, all cops know they’re doing dirty work. That’s why they sign up to be cops. They like the power trip, the pay and the chance to make a ton of money in many ways, legally and otherwise.

When cops start arresting their fellow cops and blowing the whistle, then and only then will I allow that there is a “good” cop. Until then—-which is another way of saying “never”—-I will continue to note the obvious: police are at best busybodies trying to leave their “mark” on people’s lives. When not at their best they’re nothing more than a very expensive mafia that does a crappy job with protection at a far greater cost than real mafia.

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