San Luis Obispo County

SLO City denies reports of cover-up over police chief's lost gun

Claims made by CalCoastNews

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Amid accusations from a local news website that San Luis Obispo's chief of police attempted to hide the fact that she had lost her firearm, the City of San Luis Obispo is saying any claims of a cover-up are unfounded. 

An article posted by CalCoastNews on Thursday alleges that San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell attempted to keep news of her losing her firearm in a restaurant bathroom out of the public's knowledge.

The article claims that Chief Cantrell failed to report the stolen gun for two hours after it went missing and then used a cell phone to communicate with a city employee to avoid the call being recorded. The city employee in question denies that was the case and insists the call failed, leading her to call Cantrell back on a cell phone. 

The article also alleges that a group of five police detectives went to a house on O'Connor Way and illegally searched a family's home. CalCoastNews states that the homeowner was arrested and the children were taken into police custody on a complaint of child neglect for a "messy home." 

The city denied that the man's home was illegally searched stating that one of the homeowners was on active searchable bench probation and the home was searched while the Probation Department was at the scene at the time of contact. Terms of the probation includes the ability to search the home, car and person of the offender by any law enforcement officer without a warrant. Officials also say the condition of the home was visible from outside the front door.

The article also claims the door was kicked down by police and the children were held at the police station overnight. The city denies both claims, stating that the children were allowed to return home that night. They did confirm that one of the adults was charged with felony child endangerment.  

The City said it stand by the search and ensuing arrests and said proper police procedure was followed.

The City Attorney's office said it was unable to provide copies of the felony child endangerment arrest because the case involves minor children and the case is still under active investigation. 

CalCoastNews also brings into question why a "Be On the Look Out" (BOLO) alert was not sent out immediately to other law enforcement agencies. The city says there was an internal miscommunication that led to a lack of a BOLO alert and no one was directed by Chief Cantrell to withhold such an alert. 

City officials said they have been transparent throughout the whole process and any allegations of impropriety are "simply not true."

The city said Cantrell took all necessary steps and followed procedure in a timely matter. The following timeline was provided to our newsroom.

Chief Cantrell took several actions when she realized her gun was no longer in the restroom at El Pollo Loco within the following 2 hours:

  • Gaining access to and review of the video footage
  • Contact with persons that entered the restroom
  • Notification to San Luis Obispo Police Department Captain
  • Check of cameras at adjoining businesses
  • Notification to the recorded San Luis Obispo Police Department dispatch line
  • Notification to the City Manager
  • San Luis Obispo Police Department social media post regarding the lost firearm released
  • The lost firearm was entered into the national database
  • Lost firearm case assigned to San Luis Obispo Police Department Officer

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