July 14, 2016, Canton, MI – The Canton Public Safety Department announces the retirement of two senior command officers. Deputy Police Chief Debra Newsome and Battalion Fire Chief Wendy Stevens are retiring from longstanding careers with their respective department’s this month.
Deputy Chief Debra Newsome was hired by the police department in 1991 as a patrol officer. She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2002, Lieutenant in 2009 and Deputy Chief in 2013. Newsome earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Detroit; she is also a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Police Staff & Command School. Early on as a police officer, Newsome participated in numerous special units including DARE Instructor, Bicycle Unit, and Department Instructor. She also spent time serving as a Detective and as the department’s Community Relations Coordinator. Newsome is credited with establishing the department’s Sex Offender Tracking Program and the Child Abuse Task Force. As a patrol shift commander she was responsible for the daily operation of road patrol shifts, while also assuming on-going administrative tasks and projects. In her current role as Deputy Chief, Newsome has supervised the Staff Operations Division consisting of the Detective Bureau, Ordinance Enforcement Unit, Special Services, and Department Training. Most recently, Newsome is credited as liaison for the department’s new partnership with First Step, a domestic violence advocacy program.
Battalion Chief Wendy Stevens was hired by the department in 1992 as a firefighter and was promoted to the rank of Captain & Battalion Chief in 2013. Stevens received her Paramedic License after successfully completing an intense course provided to Canton Firefighters in 1999, the year the department converted its emergency medical service from Basic to Advanced Life Support. Stevens is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Fire Staff & Command School. Throughout her career, Stevens has provided exceptional firefighting and emergency medical service to the community. She was an active participant on the department’s Awards Committee and Apparatus Committee, and is credited with initiating the department’s newly formed Honor Guard. In her role as Battalion Chief, Stevens ran the daily operation of her assigned shift comprised of 18 Firefighter/Paramedics responding to emergency calls for service from three fire stations. She was also responsible for the development of subordinate personnel and a new employee training program. Stevens has the distinguished privilege of being both the first female firefighter hired in Canton, as well as the first to achieve retirement status.
“The Public Safety Department is losing two valuable members of the organization this month,” said Public Safety Director Joshua Meier. “Deb and Wendy both made significant contributions to the organization and to the Canton community—their presence will be notably missed,” Meier adds.