For any police officer, losing their gun may well be a career-ender. For there to be a chance at salvaging the situation, though, they have to follow protocol to the letter. After all, mistakes can happen and sometimes people can understand what happened so long as you don’t make the situation worse by trying to hide what happened.

Recently, we reported on a California police chief who had lost her weapon. It was claimed that the chief responded quickly and followed the required protocol.

That’s good.

However, now it’s claimed that the chief in question didn’t and instead tried to cover it up.

The search for the pistol that San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell lost in a bathroom stall resulted in an apparently illegal search of a home without a warrant and the arrest of a couple on charges of child neglect for having a messy house. And, new information points to Cantrell’s efforts to keep the news of her loss quiet despite her claim that she immediately reported the stolen gun. [Cal Coast Times]

In contrast to Cantrell’s claim that she immediately reported her gun stolen, several officers said her attempt to cover-up the theft of her gun risked officer safety and led to the search of the home of a man incorrectly identified as the person suspected of taking the chief’s gun.

However, for the first two hours, Cantrell conducted the investigation into her stolen gun without reporting the theft. Cantrell checked surveillance footage at the restaurant and saw that three people had entered the restroom after her, two of whom were still in the restaurant and did not have her gun, Cantrell said.

Two hours after Cantrell discovered her gun was missing, she called police dispatch and asked police department employee Christine Steeb to call her back, cell phone to cell phone, in an apparent attempt to keep the call from being recorded, said a SLO police officer, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his employment. Steeb said the chief provided information about her lost gun on a non-recorded line because of issues with the city’s phone system.

“The call fell off so I called her back on my cell phone,” Steeb said.

A call of lost property is listed in the dispatch log at 2:09 p.m.

To make matters worse, police then proceeded to the home of a man an officer said resembled the person who reportedly found the gun. However, when detectives arrived, they found the man the officer identified. Unfortunately, the resemblance wasn’t there. After all, the suspect in the video was clean-shaven while the individual detectives were looking at had a beard.

I don’t care who you are, you’re not growing a full beard in a day.

None of that mattered as detectives.

[Detecitve Suzie] Walsh then asked the man if she could search his home. He asked if she had a warrant.

“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.’”

After the officers entered the house and kicked down the parents’ bedroom door, they arrested the man and his wife on charges of child neglect. The house was unclean, officers said, and they took the children into county custody. The girls, 7 and 9, remained in the police station until after 2 p.m. the next day, the man’s wife said.

All of this because of the police chief’s irresponsibility. Frankly, the whole thing sounds hinky. After all, Cantrell claimed the gun was retrieved around 7:00 PM. However, at 7:30, SLO police officers were notified for the first time that the chief’s gun was missing. Between 8:00 and 9:00 that night, the SLO sheriff said his department was asked to assist in finding the missing firearm.

In other words, nothing seems to pan out based on what the chief said earlier.

Something is screwing in San Luis Obispo. Worse than that, a family has been wrecked after police entered without a warrant or anything that should be considered probable cause.

Here’s hoping the truth actually does come to light and if Cantrell tried to cover up her screw up, she needs to be shown the door.