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SLOPD chief responds to allegations of “coverup” after leaving gun in restroom

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 13:30:46-04

UPDATE (Aug. 5, 2019) - KSBY News has requested several documents from the City of San Luis Obispo regarding the day San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell left her gun in a local public restroom.

Many of the requests, including the recording of the call Cantrell placed to dispatch reporting her gun had been taken from the restroom, were denied due to exemption laws.

The city did release the arrest log of Cheyne Eric Orndoff, the man whose home was searched after a tip that he may have Cantrell's gun led officers to his home.

The documents state, "information regarding stolen firearm led to location and arrest of suspects for child abuse."

Vanessa Bedroni was also arrested on these charges.

The city also released a public log entry that shows at 2:09 p.m. that day a lost property call was made to dispatch stating, "chief reported her firearm was stolen from the location" from the El Pollo Loco address.

It also states, "call was officer initiated so no initial dispatch time" and that officers were dispatched at 7:22pm.

(July 26, 2019) - San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell is responding to allegations that she did not immediately report that someone walked off with her gun after she left it in a restaurant earlier this month.

Local publication Cal Coast News cites anonymous police officers accusing the chief, among other things, of taking too long to report the missing weapon to dispatch.

The chief and city attorney released to KSBY News a timeline of events.

Cantrell reportedly arrived at noon at El Pollo Loco for lunch. After using the restaurant’s restroom, she realized she had left her gun inside.

From 12:30-2:30 p.m., here’s what they say transpired:

She asked an El Pollo Loco employee to check surveillance video to see who went into the bathroom after her. It’s then she notified her captain about what happened.

Cantrell says within a half-hour, she determined one of the customers, later identified by police as Skeeter Mangan, took the weapon but he was gone.

Around 1:07 p.m., the chief says she called dispatch and asked to be connected to the supervisor on duty.

Chief Cantrell says the call was dropped and she called back on her cell phone, but Cal Coast News asserts Cantrell used her cell so the call would not be recorded.

Later that evening, the chief said the department got a tip a San Luis Obispo man, who’s on probation, might have her gun. (Editor's note: This article has been revised to correct that the man lives in San Luis Obispo, not Morro Bay as previously reported.)

Contrary to the Cal Coast News report, Chief Cantrell says officers performed a lawful search of his home.

Officers say the home was filthy and the children were put in protective custody as a result.

She denies Cal Coast News’ report that a door was kicked in and the children were kept overnight at the police department.

The next day, detectives say Skeeter Mangan was found with the gun and arrested.

Chief Cantrell says there was a delay in issuing a “be on the lookout alert” to law enforcement, as stated in the article, because of a miscommunication. She also said it is not a requirement.

Cantrell said she believes it’s a former police officer who “takes issue with her” who is questioning her actions that day.

The City of San Luis Obispo released the following statement Friday, July 26, in response to KSBY’s inquiries:

"The City of San Luis Obispo has been transparent about this incident from the beginning. Recent allegations and insinuations are simply not true. The following facts are provided to ensure accurate public information.

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

There was a delay in issuing the law enforcement notification teletype (BOLO), which was the product of an internal miscommunication, but there was no direction from anyone including the Chief not to send the teletype.

The City Attorney has reviewed the facts of the search of the home and resulting arrests for child neglect and is confident that San Luis Obispo Police Department Detectives acted legally and appropriately. One of the individuals arrested is on searchable bench probation and the Probation Department was on site at the time of contact. The terms of the probation include a requirement that he submit to searches of his person, home or car, on request by any law enforcement officer, without a warrant or probable cause. In addition, the condition of the home that led to the arrests was visible from the front door. No doors were kicked down and the minor children were not kept at the Police Department overnight. The Police Department was not notified that the gun was located in Los Osos until the day after the arrests.

We applaud the San Luis Obispo Police Department Detectives and our law enforcement partners in the Sheriff’s Department, Probation, and Child Protective Services for ensuring the safety of the children involved and trust that all other matters stemming from the incident will be fairly and appropriately resolved through the criminal courts and Child Protective Services."
City of San Luis Obispo