The Board is comprised of seven members.

Three appointed by the Government of Ontario: 

Jen Lawson - Chair

Picture of Jen Lawson

Jen Lawson was reappointed by the Provincial Government, under an Order in Council from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board for a two-year term commencing on November 20, 2023, after completing her recent three-year term. 

As a multi-passionate, insatiably curious, authentic senior leader and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Jen brings over 20 years of strategic leadership, collaboration and business experience from a diverse background in the public and private sectors. 

Jen is a skilled facilitator, changemaker and firm but fair negotiator whose employment experience includes universities, hospitals, regional and provincial governments, manufacturing, distribution, and family entertainment.  As a visionary innovator, and a creative problem solver, Jen challenges the norm, and questions incessantly when she hears “but, we’ve always done it that way.” She identifies gaps, implements solutions, and builds relationship bridges where others see problems and silos. Thriving off possibility, Jen approaches each day with an abundance of positive enthusiasm, passion, and desire to energize, uplift and inspire employee wellness, fiscal responsibility, great governance, and corporate viability. 

Her passion for continuous learning inspired her to pursue her Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University where she then completed her Master of Business Administration (MBA). She’s currently pursuing a Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice Degree with a minor in Indigenous Studies at Brock University.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Jen moved to the Niagara Region in 2002 where she has been an active member of the community, serving on several committees and boards in a variety of capacities for business, sporting and service organizations.  When she’s not advocating for ways organizations can reduce stress, overwhelm and frustration you’re likely to find Jen creating her own stress, overwhelm and frustration at her newest hobbies of golf, tai chi and pickleball.

Kevin Gibson - Member


Kevin Gibson was appointed to the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board by the Provincial Government under an Order in Council from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for a three-year term commencing November 9, 2023.  He served previously on the Board as a former Regional Councillor from 2018 to 2022. 

Mr. Gibson was elected as Mayor of the Township of Wainfleet in 2018 and in this capacity served on Niagara Regional Council for a four-year term from December 2018 to December 2022.   During his capacity as Mayor and Regional Councillor, Mr. Gibson served on the Public Health Committee and Waste Management Committee, and on the Board of Directors for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). 

Before his time as an elected official, Mr. Gibson served as a police officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  As an RCMP officer, he has various levels of experience working with different levels of government, including working with foreign governments to develop and implement protocols to assist Canadian investigations. He retired as a 34-year veteran of the RCMP and served both nationally in Chilliwack, British Columbia; Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; Toronto, Ontario; and internationally in Bangkok, Thailand, for specialized investigations into human trafficking.  During his policing career, he has held a variety of positions including general uniform duties, community policing, member of the Emergency Response Team dealing with high-risk situations, human trafficking investigator, supervisor of a serious crime unit, and Detachment Commander.  He also worked as part of the security planning team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. 

He is currently the sole owner and employee of Gibson Auction Service. Being a formally trained auctioneer that mostly specializes in charity auctions, he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity over the past five years. 

Mr. Gibson is active in the community having volunteered for much of his life. He has coached soccer for years, helped build a habitat for humanity house, rode a bicycle from Vancouver to Toronto and raised $28,000 for the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB). He volunteers with the Marshville Heritage Festival, has been on church boards and helped raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.  He is happily married to Lynn and has two daughters.


Tara McKendrick - Member

Tara McKendrick is a provincial appointee to the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board since February 2018.  Ms. McKendrick brings over 25 years of experience in the social services field through participation in various roles throughout Niagara.  

Born in Hamilton, Ms. McKendrick’s family moved to the Niagara Region in 1984.  Ms. McKendrick has a history of volunteer work with Big Sisters, Niagara Victim Services, Distress Centre Niagara and other community agencies. A strong passion for helping others inspired completion of her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Sociology from Brock University, and subsequently her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Windsor. 

Ms. McKendrick’s employment history has included involvement and collaboration with emergency response services, child protection services, hospital emergency departments and mental health and addictions services. The focus of her roles have been suicide prevention, crisis intervention and resolution, as well as advocacy, awareness and facilitation of curriculum regarding suicide prevention, mental health and addictions.  Ms. McKendrick’s career has led to her current role as Executive Director of Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara Branch.  Ms. McKendrick is a long-time resident of Niagara Region and her family is proud to call Welland home.

 Three representatives of Regional Council (for four-year terms):

 Pat Chiocchio - Member 


Regional Councillor Pat Chiocchio was appointed to serve as a representative on the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board on December 1, 2022, for a four-year term (2022-2026).

Councillor Chiocchio spent his working career in the public sector with Niagara Region Community Services Department serving as an Adult Day Service Coordinator with the Seniors Community Program and retiring in 2018 after 35 years of dedicated service.

Councillor Chiocchio was first elected as a Councillor with the City of Welland in 2003 and was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014. As a Welland City Councillor, he served on several Committees and Boards including Chair of the Integrated Services Committee, Chair of the Transit Advisory Committee, Chair of the Welland Safe Community Partnership, and Chair of the Health Care Committee.  He also served as a member of the Economic Development Committee, Budget Review Committee, and Welland Hydro Board.  He held the position of City Councillor until he was elected to Regional Council in 2018. 

As a Regional Councillor, Pat Chiocchio has served as Co-Chair of the Regional Public Health and Social Services Committee, and serves on the Budget Review Committee, Public Works Committee, Regional Development Charge Policy Task Force and Transportation Steering Committee. He is an active member of the community having participated and served with several groups and organizations such as coaching and volunteering with the Welland Minor Hockey Association, Welland Minor Soccer Club, Welland Minor Basketball Association and the MS Society of Canada, Niagara Peninsula Chapter of Hope.

A life-long resident of Niagara Region, Councillor Chiocchio was born and raised in Welland and studied at Eastdale Secondary School and Niagara College.  He and his wife Lorraine have a daughter named Kelsy and two grandchildren, Luca and Dario.  His hobbies include physical fitness, golfing, travelling, and enjoying time spent with his family.

 Laura Ip - Member


Regional Councillor Laura Ip was appointed to serve as a Regional representative on the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board on December 1, 2022.  Councillor Ip is serving her second term on Regional Council representing St. Catharines.  She has lived in Niagara her whole life, having grown up in Niagara Falls and moved to St. Catharines nearly 30 years ago.  Councillor Ip has been an extremely active community member since she was a teenager, volunteering for numerous community initiatives, including being a founding Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer of Quest Community Health Centre.

Councillor Ip is a graduate of Brock University (Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with distinction), and she holds a diploma and several certificates from Niagara College.  She also holds a certificate in Leadership and Inclusion from Centennial College and a certificate in Municipal Administration from AMCTO.

Councillor Ip has worked in public, private, and non-profit sector roles and is currently a freelance researcher/writer, as well as the Project Manager, Responsible Media Reporting of Gendered Issues for Gillian’s Place.  She is also the founder, president, and head coach of Underdogs Boxing Club, a local, entirely volunteer-run non-profit that offers recreational non-contact boxing, strength-training, and mobility programming to the community, including cis and trans women and men, non-binary folks, all youth aged 10-14, and a program for women-identified survivors of violence.

Bill Steele - Member

Regional Councillor Bill Steele is serving his second term on Regional Council in his capacity as Mayor of the City of Port Colborne.  He was a Port Colborne Councillor for Ward One from 1996 to 2014.  Councillor Steele was appointed to the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board on December 13, 2018. 

He has been in the insurance business since 1982 and is the owner of C. M. Steele Insurance Brokers Ltd., established in 1898. Councillor Steele has extensive community involvement including: 

*   President of Port Colborne Minor Hockey from 2002 to 2016
*   Past president of Port Colborne Lions Club
*   Past president Port Colborne Jaycees
*   Vice-president of Niagara South Insurance Brokers Association
*   Board member of Ontario Trillium Foundation from 1997 to 2001
*   Past member of Niagara College Foundation
*   Hockey coach for Port Colborne Minor Hockey, Southern Tier Admirals AAA
*   Chair of Port Colborne Vale Health and Wellness Centre Building Committee. He is a member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, the Niagara South Insurance Brokers Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.  He is married to Debby and has three sons, Mitch, Mack and Riley.

One Citizen appointed by Regional Council (for a four-year term): 

Nyarayi Kapisavanhu - Vice Chair


Nyarayi Kapisavanhu was appointed by Niagara Regional Council as its community representative to serve on the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Service Board on February 23, 2023.

She is the Executive Director at Tools of Empowerment for Success (TOES) Niagara, an organization that empowers immigrant and marginalized women through multi-lens educational workshops, programs, and other support services to improve their economic, educational and social outcomes.

Ms. Kapisavanhu is an outstanding multi-lingual communicator. She has an International Development background and extensive experience working with marginalized and disadvantaged communities using participatory approaches.  Her passion is providing training and education to enhance the economic and social status and the development of leadership skills of women, especially marginalized women, to improve their prospects. 

Ms. Kapisavanhu is a strong believer in Education for Sustainable Development, which allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. She is heavily involved in the community and sits on many boards and committees, locally and internationally, in various capacities.  Ms. Kapisavanhu is also the founder of the Advocating for Black Excellence Awards of Niagara (ABEAN).

Board Staff 

Deb Reid - Executive Director

Photo of Deb Reid - Executive Director to PSB

Deb Reid serves as the Executive Director of the Niagara Police Service Board and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Board’s business, staff and members.  She is responsible for the maintenance of the Board’s official record of decisions, and she ensures that all Board matters and decisions are properly recorded, followed up on and implemented. 

Deb provides strategic policy and communications advice to the Chair and Board Members, drafts Board policy, conducts research and analysis, develops internal and external strategic communications and prepares speeches and other communications.  As Executive Director, Deb oversees the full span of the Board’s activities in the areas of governance, budget, policy development, oversight and critical issues in policing and community safety. 

Prior to being appointed as the Board’s Executive Director in 2001, Deb served as Administrator for the Peel Police Service Board, and before that was a member of the Peel Regional Police Service since 1995.  During her time with Peel, she worked in Human Resources, provided administrative support to staff and members, and worked on comprehensive policy reviews.

In addition, Deb has served for the past 15 years as part of Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB) Zone 4 in the position of Secretary-Treasurer.  She has served on the OAPSB Training Committee and assisted in the development of the OAPSB Board Governance Training modules, as well as provided assistance to the Canadian Association of Police Governance (formerly known as the Canadian Association of Police Boards) with its past conference workshops.  She has extensive knowledge and experience in police board governance and related initiatives, and has worked directly with over 30 different Board Members and numerous Senior Executive Members of the Police Service. 

Dawn Cichocki - Executive Assistant 

Photo of Dawn Cichocki - Executive Assistant to PSBDawn Cichocki provides day-to-day executive assistance to the Executive Director, Chair and other Members of the Board.

She provides administrative support, including general reception services, recording of incoming/outgoing mail, scheduling of meetings and room bookings, and confirmation of Board attendance at all various official, unofficial and ceremonial events.  In addition, Dawn is responsible for the preparation, distribution and follow-up of all Board agendas in consultation with the Executive Director, and maintains important contractual documentation, confidential records and an up-to-date and accurate filing system. She also processes expense claims and is responsible for the purchasing and payment of approved budget items as well as other financial documentation through the electronic financial management system.

Dawn has been a member of the Niagara Regional Police Service since 1997. In her time with the Service, Dawn was temporarily assigned to various operational units before coming to the Board Office in 1999.  For over 20 years, Dawn has provided much-needed administrative support to the Board and has served in the positions of Board Clerk and Administrative Assistant until she was promoted to her current position as Executive Assistant in 2011.