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California police chief accused of cover-up after she forgot her service pistol in restaurant bathroom

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The chief of the San Luis Obispo Police Department left her pistol in a bathroom- and things reportedly only got worse from there.

On July 10, SLOPD Chief Deanna Cantrell left her Glock service pistol in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant, leaving the establishment before she noticed it was gone.

Returning to the eatery, Cantrell noticed the firearm was nowhere to be found.

Despite the chief’s claim that she reported her pistol stolen, the Cal Coast Times reported that she actually investigated the theft personally for two hours before telling a department employee on a non-recorded line.

Checking surveillance footage from the restaurant, it was discovered that 30-year-old Skeeter Carlos Mangan was the next person to use the bathroom after Cantrell, and she immediately dispatched five detectives to a local home after an officer claimed he knew a man living there who resembled Mangan, according to the report.

The police presence was noticeable, and the homeowner stepped out of the house to investigate, followed by his wife and children. The man in question did not match the description of Mangan.

The homeowner would later say that detectives Jason Dickel and Suzie Walsh said that he had Chief Cantrell’s handgun and ordered him to reveal where it was.

When he and his wife attempted to prove that they were not at the El Pollo Loco at the time of the incident, the police were not interested and demanded to search his home, claiming they did not need a warrant because he was on probation, according to Cal Coast Times.

“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.’”

According to the article, the detectives entered the home and kicked down the couples’ door, claiming the house was unclean. In the end, they took the couples’ children and arrested them on charges of child neglect.

Seven hours after the firearm was reported missing, the SLO patrol unit was allegedly notified that the chief had lost her gun. Thirty minutes prior to that notification, Mangan’s brother-in-law had contacted law enforcement and arranged for SLOPD to come pick up the service pistol.

However, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Chief Deputy Aaron Nix reported that the request for assistance came much later.

“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.”

The city manager later fined Cantrell $1,600 for violating city policy, but praised her for maintaining “integrity throughout the incident.”

According to KEYT, San Luis Obispo officials denied several accusations made by the Cal Coast Times, including that the home in question was illegally searched and that the children were taken away.

The city went on record to say that the call between Cantrell and the police official failed, and that the chief made no attempt to cover up the loss of her service pistol

While the city did confirm one parent was charged with child endangerment, but denied kicking the door down.

In conclusion, officials state that Cantrell took all necessary steps and followed procedure in a timely matter.

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