Chief Deanna Cantrell


Deanna started with the San Luis Obispo Police Department as the Chief of Police on January 4, 2016. Prior to this appointment, she was with the Mesa, Arizona Police Department for 21 years, with her last assignment as the Assistant Chief of the Administrative Services Bureau where she oversaw Fiscal, Supply, Fleet, Police Information Technology, Communications, Records and the Forensics Lab. Deanna served as the Deputy Chief of Special Operations, Patrol Commander, Internal Affairs Lieutenant and Sergeant, Gang and Patrol Lieutenant, and many other positions within the police department, including time spent as a Motor officer in Traffic and several Special Operations positions.

Deanna has consistently reduced harm in her communities by increasing public safety and trust through data-driven, intelligence-led policing, as well as significant community engagement and participation. She started the Police And Community Together (PACT) Board and Policing Education And Community Engagement (PEACE) program since moving to SLO. She served on the NAACP Legal Redress Committee, the Muslim Police Advisory Board, and was chair of the Human Rights Forum in Mesa. She served as the chair of the diversity and peer support teams and was the department’s Subject Matter Expert for constitutional matters regarding search and seizure. Deanna was an advisor and briefly served as the Chair of the Arizona Women’s Initiative Network (AZ-WIN) serving to increase the number of women in policing. Deanna is now the chair of the Criminal Justice Administrators Association for SLO County, serves on the YMCA board, the Homeless Services Outreach Committee, the Hancock Academy board, and is on the Changing the Narrative Committee with the California Police Chiefs Association.

Deanna holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education and a Masters of Administration from Northern Arizona University. She is a graduate of Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership in Policing Organizations. Deanna is an adjunct faculty member for Northwestern University teaching policy, contemporary policing, and executive image.