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South Simcoe Police designate new Deputy Chief

By Bradford Times Staff

The Bradford West Gwillimbury-Innisfil Police Services Board  welcomed their choice for the South Simcoe Police Service's new Deputy Chief.
Effective May 1, 2017, the position will be filled by Robin McElary-Downer, currently Chief Adjudicator for the Ontario Provincial Police.

 McElary-Downer started her career in policing as a constable with the OPP in 1981, and has served in various field operations, corporate roles, and investigative roles. She has commanded several detachments, served as Manager of the First Nations Policing Section, as Director of Investigations under the auspices of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and headed the Queen's Park Detachment, with the Protective Services Bureau.

McElary-Downer is the current Chair of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police's  Hearing Officer Committee, and the past Chair of the Emergency Management Committee. She continues to serve as Deputy Chief Aide-de-Camp, to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

“The Board is pleased to appoint Robin McElary-Downer as Deputy Chief. Robin brings p0rovien experience in strategic management, leadership, and will be an asset to the organization as we continue to provide excellent police service,” said PSB chair Rod Hicks.

“I am honoured and privileged to join the South Simcoe Police,” McElary-Downer said. “I look forward to building on the Service's past achievements in community safety, and continuing to encourage its high standards of performance and commitment to continuous improvement.”

After 36 years with the OPP, McElary-Downer, a vigorous 57, noted that she was not ready to consider retirement.

“If I wasn't here, I would still be with the OPP,” she said, noting that although husband Stewart retired from Peel Regional Police last year, as Superintendent, he supports her decision to keep working. “We live right here in Gilford. What an opportunity to finally, finally complete an item on my bucket list – to police my community. I'm just so grateful. What an opportunity, to come home.”

She identified some of the coming challenges for South Simcoe Police, including a recent spike in domestic violence incidents reported  to police, the “sustainability of a mid-sized Service,” and the issue of outreach to the community.

“Community confidence and trust is absolutely key. If we lose that, we're an ineffective service,” the Deputy Chief-elect said.

McElary-Downer has received the Governor General of Canada Order of Merit for Police Forces, Queen's Diamond and Golden Jubilee medals, and both the Ontario and International Association of Women Law Enforcement  awards for Officer of the Year.

Police Chief Rick Beazley is retiring effective April 17.  Serving Deputy Chief Andrew Fletcher will take on the role of Chief, in a Change of Command Ceremony, April 18.