SAN LUIS OBISPO — After nearly five years as Police Chief of San Luis Obispo, Deanna Cantrell announced she will become the City of Fairfield’s next police chief. Chief Cantrell began the recruitment process for Fairfield in May 2020. Her last day with San Luis Obispo will be Sept. 30.  Chief Cantrell came to San Luis Obispo after serving more than 21 years with the City of Mesa, Arizona. 

Deanna Cantrell
SLO Police Chief Deanna Cantrell

In announcing the departure, City Manager Derek Johnson said, “Chief Cantrell is an exceptional leader and an expert in policing and community engagement. She has been a valued member of San Luis Obispo City staff and community and we will certainly miss her.”  According to Johnson, Chief Cantrell played a critical role in building lasting relationships between the SLO community and the Police Department, focusing on reducing harm by decreasing crime and the fear of crime, and increasing regional partnerships and community engagement. 

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon noted, “over the last almost five years serving as Police Chief, Deanna Cantrell has shown initiative and leadership bringing together the Police Roundtable and Police and Community Together (PACT) and building relationships of mutual respect and collaboration across a wide group of community members to understand and support many different points of view. We are grateful for her service.” 

Chief Cantrell commented, “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to lead the amazing men and women in the SLO PD that serve this complex community every day with respect, partnerships, integrity, and dedication. I am thankful to have been able to work alongside a dedicated and hardworking City Council, City Manager, and Department Head team. Further, I could not have been successful without the devoted members of the Police Roundtable and PACT who serve to bring policing and all members of our community, business leaders, diverse perspectives and opinions together for mutual understanding.”


Johnson concluded, “I am grateful for Chief Cantrell’s service and her life-long passion for law enforcement. She used her position as a leader to continue reforms in the Police Department to improve community safety and integrate restorative and community-based policing practices. We wish her the best as she continues her work in reforming police departments and working on systemic changes to reduce the use of force and increase the support for marginalized communities.”

The City of San Luis Obispo will begin a national recruitment for a new chief in the coming months, Johnson said and will seek input from the community on the recruitment and selection process.

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