Chief Deanna Cantrell (Ret.)


Deanna Cantrell is recognized as a leading driver of public safety leadership, operational efficiency and improvement, innovative and evidence-based problem solving, and advancing trust and community building. She has a proven record for exceptional communication, talented public speaking, forward-thinking police reform, strategic planning, and staff development.

Chief Cantrell retired as the chief of police for the City of Fairfield, California where she started in October 2020. Prior to that, Chief Cantrell served almost five years as the chief of police in San Luis Obispo, California, and over 21 years with the Mesa, Arizona, Police Department where she moved through the ranks from officer to assistant chief. While in Mesa, she served in many assignments from patrol, motors, internal affairs, narcotics, and organized crime. She supervised many units including internal affairs, a large patrol district, special operations, communications, finance, and the crime lab.

Chief Cantrell believes the police exist to reduce harm in our communities. Because of that, she has developed a deep-rooted history of building trust with the community, improving employee health and wellness, and advancing meaningful police reform. She and her team in San Luis Obispo received an award from the Anti-Defamation League for combatting hate. She has served on the Human Rights Forum as the Muslim police advisory liaison and the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) liaison; on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) legal redress committee; and was the chair of the Arizona Women’s Initiative Network (AZ-WIN). She is currently a co-chair for the California Women Leaders in Law Enforcement (WLLE) and is the WLLE Foundation board president. She serves internationally on the Professional Standards, Ethics, and Image Committee with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and as the northern member at large for the California Police Chiefs Association. Chief Cantrell was also selected in 2018 as the 24th District, California Congressional Woman of the Year.

Deanna holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Administration from Northern Arizona University. She has an Executive Development Certificate from California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), teaches Advancing Ethical 21st Century Leadership for California POST, and is a graduate of Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School where she is also an adjunct faculty member.