Chief Deanna Cantrell (ret.) is a recognized leader in 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. Deanna retired is the Chief of Police for the City of Fairfield, California where she started in October, 2020. Prior to that, Deanna served almost 5 years as the Chief of Police in San Luis Obispo (SLO) 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.
Deanna 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 wellness and advancing meaningful police reform. She and her team in SLO 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, as the LGBTQ liaison, and on the NAACP legal redress committee. She served for 4 years as the Co-Chair for the California Women Leaders in Law Enforcement (WLLE) and is the WLLE Foundation Board President, also chairing the mentoring committee. Deanna served for 6 years on the California Police Chiefs Association Board. She is currently an Executive Fellow for the National Policing Institute and is on the Board for Police2Peace. In 2018 Deanna was selected as the 24th District, California Congressional Woman of the year, and in 2022, Women Leaders in Law Enforcement established the Deanna Cantrell Exceptional Leadership award.
Deanna holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Administration from Northern Arizona University. She has an Executive Development Certificate from CA POST, teaches Advancing Ethical Leadership for CA POST through Cal State Long Beach and is a graduate of Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School where she is also an adjunct faculty member, teaching policy, executive image, strategic planning, internal conflict.
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