Police Chief Apologizes After Leaving Her Gun in an El Pollo Loco Restroom

San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell has apologized for mistakenly leaving her department-issued firearm in an El Pollo Loco bathroom last week.

Chief Cantrell removed the gun from her holster while using the restaurant’s restroom on July 10, forgot it, and then walked out. Cantrell says she immediately recognized her error and went back to retrieve the weapon but it was gone. The firearm had been stolen by a 30-year-old Los Osos man who entered the bathroom shortly after her.

The gun was returned Thursday evening after the finder’s brother-in-law came forward and convinced him to turn it in. The weapon is now off the streets, but the ordeal has been an embarrassing one for Cantrell.

“I talk about transparency and having a relationship that’s built on trust with our community, so I also want to make sure I practice what I believe,” the chief said in a videotaped statement posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page. “Therefore, I think you should hear this from me.”

Cantrell went on to discuss what had happened. She described her actions as “irresponsible and dangerous” and said she’s thankful the gun was not discovered by a child.