It is with deep regret that Chief Jeff McGuire of the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) announces the death of former NRPS Chief of Police Wendy Southall. On June 1st, 2016, Chief Southall passed away at a local hospital after a battling a lengthy illness.
Chief Southall began her policing career in 1970 with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service. In 1982, Chief Southall joined the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board, serving as an Enforcement Officer in charge of the Licensing Department. In 1989, she was promoted to Administrator of the Police Services Board. She continued to strive in the policing environment resulting in her appointment to the Niagara Regional Police Service in February 2000 and eventual promotion to Chief Administrative Officer in January 2001. Chief Southall provided governance and oversight to the Finance Unit, Fleet and Facilities Management and Human Resources which included Recruiting, Training, Career Development, Information Services and Police Records.
On January 1, 2005 Wendy Southall was named the 7th Chief of Police for the Niagara Regional Police Service. Chief Southall’s unwavering commitment to the safety of Niagara residents remained steadfast as she focused on making area roads the safest in Ontario. As such, Chief Southall led the Niagara Regional Road Safety Committee, creating a five-year strategic plan which focused on educating the community on safe driving practices coupled with directed enforcement. In the end, this plan resulted in an overall reduction in fatal and serious motor vehicle collisions across the Niagara Region. In May 2011, Chief Southall received the Order of Merit from Honorable Governor General David Johnston. At that time, she was one of only eight people nationally to receive a badge of the Order of Merit at the higher-status of “Officer” level.
Chief Southall’s legacy will continue within the Service as she played an integral role in the early planning and development of what will soon be the new Niagara Regional Police Service Headquarters in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Chief Jeff McGuire said “Wendy is very highly regarded by all of her peers in policing right across this Province. Rising through the ranks of the civilian side of policing and then being selected as Chief of Police was an incredible accomplishment. Wendy’s leadership and devotion to the safety of the Niagara community will never be forgotten. She will be missed by her many friends and colleagues here at the NRPS. Our thoughts are with her children and grandchildren during this difficult time.”.
Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board Chair Bob Gale said, “The Board is deeply saddened to hear this tragic news and expresses its sincere sympathy to her family. Wendy was a leader, a visionary and a true professional. She had a history of many accomplishments and has left a remarkable legacy behind with our new Police Headquarters.”
Chief Southall led the NRPS with distinction from January 2005 until her retirement in March 2012.Chief Southall’s generosity and unwavering commitment towards others could be seen in the countless hours she spent volunteering within the community, during and after her policing career. She was involved in several fund raising events and held positions within numerous charitable organizations, committees and boards. Her extensive volunteer work and distinguished career was again recognized in 2010 by the YWCA as a Woman of Distinction for enhancing the lives of people in Niagara.Family members offered this statement”
Even with the demands of her career, Wendy always ensured that her family came first. Her friends and colleagues were a close second as she was fiercely loyal to both. Her husband, children and grandchildren were always her top priority. She was a dedicated champion and supporter of the Niagara community. In her retirement Wendy continued to focus on improving life in Niagara through working with a variety of organizations. Wendy approached all aspects of her life with honestly and integrity”.
Chief Southall will always be remembered for her strong community involvement and dedicated service with the NRPS and law enforcement community across the country. Chief Southall will be greatly missed by her many friends and extended family at the Niagara Regional Police Service.Visitation will be held at George Darte Funeral Chapel, 585 Carlton Street St. Catharines on Sunday June 5th from 2-5pm and Monday June 6th from 4-8pm. A Celebration of Wendy’s life will be held at a later date.
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