FAIRFIELD (CBS SF) — The Fairfield Police Department on Thursday announced that the city manager selected Deanna Cantrell to be the department’s new police chief — a year after she made national headlines for leaving her gun in a public restroom.

Fairfield City Manager Stefan Chatwin hired Cantrell, who’s served as San Luis Obispo’s police chief since 2016.

Cantrell left her post in San Luis Obispo under severe criticism for her handling of Black Lives Matters protests back in July. She ordered the tear-gassing of protestors and had activist Tianna Arata arrested for her role in organizing the protests.

Deanna Cantrell, former San Luis Obispo Police Chief (San Luis Obispo Police Department)

In July of 2019, Cantrell notably lost her firearm after leaving it unattended in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant. It was later recovered and its discovery led to the arrest of a suspect in an unrelated case. San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson fined her $1,600 for her mistake.

Initially critics accused Cantrell of not immediately reporting the theft of her gun but dispatch records disproved these claims.

Before coming to San Luis Obispo, Cantrell worked in Mesa, Arizona for 21 years.

Cantrell holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in administration from Northern Arizona University. She is also a graduate of Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School and the International Association of Chief of Police Leadership in Policing Organizations Training.

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