Finalist selected for SLO police chief job

November 6, 2015
Deanna Cantrell

Deanna Cantrell

San Luis Obispo City Manager Katie Lichtig has selected an assistant police chief in Mesa, Ariz. as the person to head the city’s police department. [Tribune]

Deanna Cantrell, 45, beat out both of San Luis Obispo’s current police captains for the position. She must still pass a background investigation before the city hires her.

Cantrell has been a member of the Mesa Police Department for 21 years. She currently serves as assistant chief of the department’s administrative services bureau.

In that position, Cantrell oversees the police department’s forensics lab, information technology, fiscal management, communications, records and supply. She has a staff of about 250 to 270, most of whom are non-sworn employees of the department.

San Luis Obispo has not had a permanent chief since Steve Gesell parted ways with the city in May following a feud with Lichtig. Since then, captains Chris Staley and Keith Storton have rotated as acting chief.

Both Staley and Storton applied for the full-time position and reached the final stage of interviews. Cantrell, Staley and Storton were the three finalists for the job.

Each of the three candidates participated in one-on-one interviews with Lichtig, Human Resources Director Monica Irons and Assistant City Manager Derek Johnson. Lichtig has final say as to appointment of city department heads.

Irons said Cantrell’s background investigation will likely conclude by Thanksgiving. The city expects to have a new chief in place by the end of the year, Irons said.


Sounds like sexism to me. Lichtig continues to insist on running SLO into the ground, look at her track record. Staley and Storton are easily more qualified. What ever happened to hiring from within. Its called a promotion


Why not promote someone who is already here? Lichtig has an agenda. May we please know what it is? I’m just a resident of SLO, unlike Lichtig, so I guess that doesn’t count for shit.


Lichtig’s agenda? She’s from Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills. Doesn’t that explain it? She’s part of the rich SoCal crowd that’s hijacked our town and is running it into the ground so her developer cronies can make a bundle off what we once were — an extraordinary place gone south. And the current council is made up of arrogant fools who go along with it, and pounce on residents who have the nerve to go talk to them. Very very sad. Lichtig must go.


So….I guess there isn’t anyone residing in SLO county that is qualified to be the police chief of San Luis Obispo. Maybe all of the qualified people in SLO are men. We can’t have that. A male police chief in San Luis just will not do.


Make her pass a drug test!!!

fishing village

I favor a woman police chief, she will have a lot of social issues to deal with and women just naturally are more sensitive to people and their needs. I’m looking forward to the style this new chief brings to the City. Best wishes to her!! Let’s all support this decision!! Why not!?


You’re kidding, right?

Mr. Holly

I wonder if Lisa Solomon will be hired to be the next in command? She certainly has proven experience with social issues and was sensitive to people and their needs.

This just may be another lawsuit in the making.


Please cite an example where gender REALLY plays a role as police chief. And exactly what “style” does she bring to SLO?

This should not even be an issue. she is a cop, tasked with enforcing the law. How well she does that is all that matters..not whether she’s a man or a woman.


That’s because you are a sexist.


Sarcasm dripping off the page!


may she continue to milk the parents’ children of the bay area, valley, and so cal of their riches so that the SLOPOA can live exorbitant lifestyles too!

Mr. Holly

Well let’s hold our breath. Googled her and discovered she was involved in a sexual harassment allegation and felt betrayed by her department. I wonder what king of baggage she may be bringing to SLO?


This was the quote I saw from several years ago in a blog about the Mesa Police Department:

“It should be noted that the selfsame Deanna

Cantrell listed above is one of the officers

on the department most often accused of

inappropriate, criminal conduct, to include

perjury, hundreds of false police reports,

and a general path of criminality. She parlayed

her “complaint” (I have met her, I would as

soon sexually harass a pile of mud…this jerk

must have NO taste, in addition to lack

of judgement) into a promotion to sergeant.

So goes life in this cesspool.”

Mr. Holly

This could turn into a sexual harassment case but the other way around with males complaining. I hear that it happened in Atascadero a few years ago, under McKinney, where a group of women in the PD promoted themselves and received consideration for scheduling etc. In lieu of the male officers filing a discrimination case I hear the city paid dearly to clean house.


I really have a problem with fellow bureaucrats having the final say on this. A position this important should be up to the city council. But she will only be here five years before she retires. At a salary of $160K a year X 3% X 5 years she will cost us only $24K a year forever at a minimum. Great job ladies.


I like the professionally taken photo. It has a bit of mean, a far-away psycho look and an “I mean business look” too. I would not take her on….


Let us hope she is not leaving the arid vistas of Arizona to “retire-in-place” on our delightful Central Coast. In any case, after 21 years she will be actually retiring soon enough. May her experience be well used in the relatively short time she will serve.


“Let us hope she is not leaving the arid vistas of Arizona to “retire-in-place” ”

Dude, If she works 5 years she gets Calpers right? Of Course she would jump at a California retirement. It’s what Giselle did, and some fire chief’s and others, it is a thing.

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