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.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.