About two weeks after she took over the helm of the San Luis Obispo Police Department, police Chief Deanna Cantrell was sworn in Tuesday evening at a City Council chambers packed with family, friends and law enforcement personnel from around San Luis Obispo County and Arizona.
Before Cantrell, 45, was offered the San Luis Obispo job, she had served with the Mesa Police Department in Arizona for 21 years in a variety of roles, most recently as assistant chief.
“I was incredibly blessed to be raised in the Mesa Police Department, an incredible organization that taught me very good values and leadership skills and love for the community,” Cantrell said after the badge ceremony and oath of office was administered during the San Luis Obispo City Council’s regular meeting. “I hope that I will bring all of that past into my future in San Luis Obispo.”
City Manager Katie Lichtig said she was proud that Cantrell chose to accept the city’s job offer “because I know she could have gone anywhere in this country to be a police chief.”
“She comes across and is an incredible law enforcement leader,” Lichtig said. “She’s been heavily involved in fostering relationships with the community in which she serves.”
Cantrell has told The Tribune that she’s not coming into the department with a list of predetermined initiatives or priorities, but would rather spend the first weeks listening to staff, residents and city management and getting a sense of local culture.
Among the sheriff’s officials and police officers gathered Tuesday was Mesa Police Department Chief John Meza, who said they grew up in that organization together.
“She brings to you from our Police Department and culture ... a commitment to community engagement and being transparent to the community,” he said. “You guys are very lucky.”