New chief takes over in SLO
January 4, 2016
Deanna Cantrell, San Luis Obispo’s new police chief, begins work in SLO on Monday.
Cantrell, 45, was a member of the Mesa, Arizona police department for 21 year. She most recently served as assistance police chief and was in charge of the department’s administrative services bureau.
City Manager Katie Lichtig hired Cantrell, choosing her over both of San Luis Obispo’s current police captains. Captains Chris Staley and Keith Storton had been rotating as acting chief since Lichtig parted ways with then-chief Steve Gesell in May.
Cantrell said in an interview with the Tribune that she is a scholar of the U.S. Constitution and passionate about protecting people’s constitutional rights. She also said she loves the use of police body cameras.
In Mesa, a 70 percent decline in officer use-of-force incidents occurred after the police department equipped officers with body cameras. Also, a 49 percent drop in citizen complaints occurred, Cantrell said.
SLOPD is implementing a body camera pilot program. The police department intends to equip all patrol officers with body cameras by the end of 2017.
Cantrell said she plans to keep in place two elements of the police department that Gesell put in place — the Community Action Team and the chief’s roundtable.
The Community Action Team consists of two officers who pay close attention to local homeless individuals who are chronic low-level offenders. The chief’s roundtable is a group of community members who volunteer to meet with the chief quarterly.
Cantrell is scheduled to be officially sworn in as police chief at the Jan. 19 city council meeting.