SLO police chief fined $1,600 for losing her gun

July 17, 2019

Chief Deanna Cantrell

As punishment for losing her gun in a restaurant bathroom, San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell must forfeit approximately $1,600 in pay, according to an announcement by the city of SLO. [Cal Coast Times]

At about noon on July 10, Cantrell was eating lunch at El Pollo Loco on Los Osos Valley Road when she went to the restroom and inadvertently left her personal firearm in the stall. Having realized her mistake, she returned to the restaurant shortly afterwards and found the gun had been stolen.

On the evening of July 11, Skeeter Carlos Mangan, 30, turned in the firearm at the sheriff’s substation in Los Osos. Mangan admitted in an interview that he found the gun in the El Pollo Loco restroom and grabbed it, according to police.

The city conducted an investigation into the incident and found Cantrell violated two department policies. One of the policies states a secondary handgun must be carried concealed at all times and in a manner that prevents unintentional cocking, discharge or loss of physical control.

The other department policy Cantrell was found to have violated is a rule on following department safety standards and safe working practices.

City officials opted to punish Cantrell by fining her $1,598, which is the equivalent of two days of pay. Cantrell will also receive documentation in her personnel file.

Likewise, the chief must undergo training in firearm safety practices and hold a discussion with all members of the police department about the incident and the lessons learned that apply to all officers who carry firearms.

City Manager Derek Johnson said that Cantrell will keep her job and that he continues to have confidence in her.

“I continue to have confidence in Chief Cantrell’s leadership of the police department in a positive and professional manner ensuring a workplace and community that is safe and devoted to the highest level and standards of service. I have no doubts that this experience will drive Chief Cantrell to be even more vigilant, in both her leadership of the department and her own personal conduct,” Johnson stated. “Chief Cantrell displayed integrity throughout the incident, which is consistent with the high standards she sets for herself and her department. She immediately reported the incident, took full responsibility, initiated an investigation and ensured the firearm was added to the national database. All these factors weighed heavily in making my decision on corrective measures moving forward.”

Johnson said the city is not forwarding its investigation to the district attorney’s office because the incident does not meet any of the legal thresholds for prosecution.


FYI-I just spoke to a friend of mine who returned from France two days ago. The story was broadcast on CNN International. My remarks were addressed to the gun incident. I gave no consideration to how much she is paid. I will give $1000 to the first person that quotes a California code section that makes a crime out of

loosing or misplacing a gun under these or similar circumstances. Talk is cheap! The PD offers a ride along program ( or most do). Spend 10 hours in a police car on Friday night swing shift and get some idea what cops do. It’s not about traffic tickets.


Some in the comment sections of the SLOPD website have suggested that if Chief Cantrell were a male, the she might have gotten off without a fine (or suspension). Can you imagine if she were a white male civilian with a concealed carry permit and a perfect history of law abiding behavior and responsible gun ownership (up until this incident)? They would immediately take all of his guns away, make him pay a stiff fine, and almost assuredly do jail time. Only government employees in a Socialist city or state get away with crimes suffering little or no punishment.


I think too many of us “keyboard cowards” (quote from our illustrious mayor) are really missing the point here.

The fact that Chief Cantrell was shown mercy for her mistake is NOT something we should complain about! I mean, each and every one of us are shown mercy by the police each and every day! Here’s proof:

1. When pulled over for a moving violation, we nearly always get off with a friendly warning, not a ticket.

2. When caught possessing and/or selling illegal drugs, we don’t lose our jobs. We get paid administrative leave, same as cops.

3. When we kill unarmed people, we don’t go to jail. Why should cops?

4. When we misplace a firearm or don’t store them properly, the police will show up and help us comply with the law. They won’t punish us or apply the law to our mistakes. NO! They are kind, merciful and they truly want to serve us.

5. When we are caught DWI, police will drive our car home for us, gently scold us and tell us to sleep it off and come to work sober next time. Why should we demand that police be treated any differently?

Police should be held to the same standards as the people they protect and serve. We should not be so cruel to them, treating them as if they were not endowed with the same rights that we are.

Chief Cantrell and her department are now going to be merciful to us serfs, seeing as how they even show mercy to themselves. All this “double-standard” “above-the-law” talk is so yesterday! The new way is common sense, mercy, service and good will. Chief Cantrell’s punishment is proof of this.

Happy days are here again!


“When we are caught DWI, police will drive our car home for us, gently scold us and tell us to sleep it off and come to work sober next time”, one even better, wasn’t that a CHP officer who was busted for DWI leaving the CHP parking to go out on patrol, and he was given a paid vacation while the investigation was done? Did anything happen to him, or was he just quietly transferred to another department as usual?



Your statements, from your perspective are certainly not based in reality:

1. If you run a red light, blow a stop sign, and speed unsafely … you’re going to get cited.

2.If you’re selling class III drugs and distributing… you’re going to jail.

3. When one kills a person, you’re going to pay the price.

4. Misplacing lethal loaded firearms has consequence you have not research as it applies to the law and officers… and it’s not good.

5. Driving DUI, you’re going to jail for the day, getting fined, and visiting drunk driving school for a few months.

6. Police are held to standards that are more rigid, structured and less forgiving than non-sworn civilians… don’t kid yourself, Internal Affairs are hard on cops and are not “endowed” with the same rights you seem to believe.

I’m not sure in what existential environment you live in, or if someone put you up to write this comment, and it is certainly not how the world functions. I’ve re-read your comment several times and had others do the same, and frankly are bewildered in its authenticity. Good luck with your world view.

Russ J

DOC-T . You make a good point. I now agree with sparing her job. Honest mistake, quickly rectified. Thank God no Kate Steinle repeat.

Russ J

Shame shame shame………………………chain of fools. Does irony just scream “GUN CONTROL”? It starts with the chief.


Irony may scream gun control, but reality screams “control over how nuts local government should be allowed to go.”

It starts with THE PEOPLE.


This is not an identify issue. The chief screwed up royally and should have received a much stronger punishment….. demotion at the least. I have to believe identity was a factor in the city’s decision. As for the dude who found the gun…. what crime did he commit? It was turned in without incident. Seems he did the chief a favor.

Niles Q

What I want to know is was she doing No. 1 or No. 2 when she was in the crapper? Because she sure stepped into a pile of it when she left her gun.

Why did the bad Samaritan use the women’s? Is it an LGBTQ bathroom open to anyone? If a woman had found the gun, she would have told the manager and this all never would have happened.

Those who decry the punishment can take solace that from now on when her name is Googled, this incident will pop up, forever.

Maybe that’s a fitting sentence.


Most bathrooms in new buildings are for both sexes. Think Starbucks. As for the penalty, when her officers begin treating the public with consideration for accidents rather than aggressive treatment and lying to make a case, I will agree with accidents happen.