Fairfield Police Chief Deanna Cantrell has announced her retirement following a recurrence of breast cancer.
“This is my second cancer diagnosis,” Cantrell said in a statement. “It has really made me re-evaluate life and accelerate my plans beyond the work I love.”
Cantrell joined the force in 2020 and was Fairfield’s first female police chief. She has been in law enforcement for more than 28 years, according to the city.
As chief, Cantrell was instrumental in moving the department toward a “30 x 30” goal of increasing female representation in the force 30 percent by 2030. As of this summer, the Fairfield Police Department had added 12 women since 2020 when she took over as chief.
Former Fairfield police employee Mary Ann Dawkins-Padigela filed a lawsuit last year against Cantrell’s department and the city for alleged discrimination based on her gender, race and religion. It is set to go to trial in the summer of 2024. According to Dawkins-Padigela’s claim, Cantrell “looked at her with a blank stare” when she brought her concerns about being a Black woman in the department.
In her statement, Cantrell thanked former City Manager Stefan Chatwin for “believing in her and giving her one of the greatest opportunities of her career.”
Capt. Dan Marshall will be taking over Cantrell’s role as chief, according to Interim City Manager David Gassaway.