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.


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There’s that word “stolen” again.


Was it originally his gun? Custody, a legal term of ownership, is not transferred by loss or misplacement.

On the other hand; Finder’s keeper’s is not a recognized legal term.

Possession is “9/10’s of the law” of ownership falls by the wayside when verifiable “custody” ie ownership is established.

He should have filed off the serial number to obscure the “custody” if he hoped to retain it, but then that would be an illegal act in itself.

In a world driven by ethics; it would be “stolen” as soon he discovered who the rightful owner was and chose not to return it.

Being honest and returning things that don’t belong to you is what we teach our kids.

Not sure what is defensible here, for either of these parties. It may have not been stolen, but it certainly was not his.


In a world driven by ethics, language in the telling of the story would refer to an object left behind in a public place as “abandoned” or “forgotten.” That it was missing by the time the owner remembered, is a separate incident CAUSED by the first.

The “theft” was a result of her forgetting, abandoning, however temporarily, the gun. The gun was forgotten, setting off a chain of events that resulted in, arguably, theft.


What?… “inadvertently left” is how it was described. That means”forgotten”.

Your word; Abandoned implies an intent to leave. So that wouldn’t be accurate, which is basis for your complaint about the writing in the first place.

He “found” it in the bathroom. When he left the restaurant with it is when the stealing occurred.

The writing in the article is sound.


Why bother?


The comments by “Retired Police Officer ” have got to be a put on. He’s pulling our leg, he cant be serious. Its pension speak with some sarcastic humor.


Having re-read, I agree! It’s actually very clever and funny!!!


She only makes about $100 an hour, however will she survive on that. How many $15 an hour jobs could be paid by reducing hers to a reasonable rate, a cut by at least half sounds good.


So if we take the ratio of Chief Cantrell’s salary to this so called punishment, about 1/2 %, $300,000 to $1,600, and apply that to say regular people our fine for a “mistake” would be around $100. Given if you get a speeding ticket, either with or without traffic school, you can’t get by for less than $300, it seems SLO’s city manager isn’t even treating this as serious as a speeding ticket, in fact he is thinking this is one third as serious as a speeding ticket.


NOOOO! Two days pay, how will she ever survive?!?


Criminy, no wonder she scrambled to get out in front of that and told on herself. I would try to save myself too if I made that much money. I have respect for law enforcement but a $1600 fine is laughable for the circumstances and her job title and pay grade.


Phew! That was a close one. We need to keep this intersectional police chief. She’s obviously the best person for the job. Symbolism over substance wins again.


What is a crime has been determined to be a mistake.More evidence of how overpaid department heads take care of each other. The sheriff should have arrested her and the city manager should be fired. The man FOUND the gun she LOST.


WOW! A 2-day ‘loss’ of pay. Even the dumbest of us know she will get that, plus much more, back at next salary increase. In the meantime; maybe somebody in SLO should start a ‘GO-FUND’ me account for Cantrell to help offset to huge financial impact of her fine. Wouldn’t be prudent to have our law officials be under a financial burden.


That’s 2 days vacation pay, she won’t miss a real dime.