Fairfield council questions SLO CA police chief’s record

Soon-to-be former San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell is facing scrutiny in Fairfield, just weeks before starting her new job — over her lost gun incident and the department’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests.

According to the Daily Republic newspaper in Solano County, two members of the Fairfield City Council raised concerns at a meeting Sept. 15 about Cantrell’s handling of the weapons incident, noting they received calls from city residents on the issue.

“I think we will have a better sense of the police chief when we meet her,” Vice Mayor Pam Bertani told the Daily Republic. “I have never talked to her or met her. … I think her presence will make a difference.”

Prior to her resignation from her post as head of San Luis Obispo Police Department in August, Cantrell was the subject of some high-profile local incidents.

In July 2019, she left her gun in an El Pollo Loco bathroom in San Luis Obispo. The follow-up search for her missing weapon led to an investigation and arrest of an unrelated suspect.

Fairfield Councilwoman Catherine Moy said at the Sept. meeting that she wanted to hear more from Cantrell on the gun incident and the subsequent investigation.

“My concern is the arrest of a person who did not at all look like the person who they believed took (the gun), and they got him for something else,” Moy said in the Daily Republic article. “I believe that is a violation of his civil rights.”

At the meeting, Cantrell was also criticized for the handling of Black Lives Matter protests in San Luis Obispo.

During as march in June, the San Luis Obispo Police Department fired tear gas at protesters. The department later arrested activist Tianna Arata and asked the district attorney to file eight criminal charges against her for leading a separate July protest.

According to the Daily Republic, Fairfield city manager Stefan Chatwin, who was responsible for hiring Cantrell, said he stood behind his decision, noting Cantrell was the clear favorite for the position after community, professional and staff panel interviews of the top candidates.

Cantrell began the recruitment process for the Fairfield chief job in May. Her last day with the San Luis Obispo Police Department will be Sept. 30.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.

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WH tries to walk back Trump attack on Pentagon chiefs as beholden to arms dealers

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday tried to walk back an attack from President Donald Trump on the nation’s military leaders, claiming “the top people in the Pentagon” aren’t happy with him because he wants to get the U.S. out of wars while they are beholden to arms dealers.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.


© Patrick Semansky/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.

Meadows told White House reporters Tuesday morning that he had spoken with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other top officials, claiming they know Trump’s striking comments Monday weren’t aimed at them.

“Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, D.C. This president is consistent about one thing, if we’re going to send our sons and daughters abroad to fight on our behalf, he’s not going to let some lobbyists here in Washington, D.C., just because they want a new defense contract, suggest that they need to stay abroad one minute longer than they should,” he said.



Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, DC.


© Alex Wong/Getty Images, FILE
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, DC.

“That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex,” Meadows continued, adding that no other president has been as good as Trump at giving “the equipment to our military men and women that need it.”

Esper is a former defense industry lobbyist for Raytheon.

MORE: The Note: Erstwhile allies keep Trump on guard and off message

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville was asked directly Tuesday morning whether the military is beholden to defense contractors at a Defense One online event.

“Many of these leaders have sons and daughters who have gone to combat, or may be in combat right now. So, I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it’s required in national security in the last resort. We take this very, very seriously in how we make our recommendations,” McConville said.

At a White House news conference Monday, Trump, in attacking Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden, suggested “the top people in the Pentagon” — including men he chose — have a common interest with arms dealers in wanting to stay in “endless wars.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.


© Patrick Semansky/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.

“And it’s one of the reasons the military — I’m not saying the military is in love with me — the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,”

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