From Everyday Heroes to Heroes for Change

Norman E. Taylor
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being

If any of you have recently landed on our Journal homepage, you will have already seen our heartfelt tribute to our colleague Bill Spearn, who lost his battle with cancer last month. Our upcoming Issue 7(2) will also feature an opening guest editorial that will both reflect on Bill’s legacy and hopefully inspire others to continue to carry his torch with renewed commitment to improved CSWB outcomes. I won’t repeat those efforts here. But I will offer personally that it was my distinct honour to have encountered Bill a few years ago, to quickly become his friend and colleague, and to admire the breadth of his commitment and energy to make our world a better place. My thoughts have continued to go out to Bill’s family almost daily since his diagnosis, and I wish them as much comfort in his memory as their grief will allow.

Perhaps it is his recent passing that had me reflecting on the importance of recognizing the incredible sacrifices that all CSWB professionals are required to make, whether in facing the challenges of their day-to-day work, in their always strained work-life balance, or in those times when they emerge as genuine change-makers for the broader system. As we continue to follow our “wellness check” theme, we are encouraged by how often our worldwide contributing Author community revisits these realities in their own submissions, and we look forward to showcasing some of that powerful and instructive content through the coming months. Our call for papers is ongoing.

Many of you may have caught the recent release of the first international textbook dedicated to the still-emerging collaborative policies and practices on which this Journal was founded. The book is titled Law Enforcement and Public Health: Partners for Community Safety and Wellbeing and we extend our congratulations to the editorial team on a truly expansive collection. Together with some of my Journal colleagues and co-authors Cal Corley, Dale McFee and Matt Torigian, it was a proud moment to see our contributed chapter on Improving Community Outcomes through Leveraged Police Leadership included in this seminal work.

Notwithstanding the chapter title, our intent was to trace three distinctive leadership attributes that we believe define the exemplars we have witnessed across the LEPH – CSWB spectrum. And, we make a note that we are addressing ‘leadership’ without the capital ‘L’. In my own view, now more than ever, these characteristics will be in high demand at every level of the human services systems as we all come through some truly difficult times. They will be also vital to attending to the needs of our colleagues as they continue to give of themselves to meet the needs and improve the lives of others.

In our chapter, and as showcased in several case examples drawn from our own experiences over the past several years, we highlight: the courage and passion to expand the mission: the ability to shift focus from positional power to multi-sector influence; and, the vital importance of developing, serving, and supporting others as they pursue their daily duties, and especially whenever they are part of game-changing innovations.

My friend Bill exhibited all of these characteristics and he applied them to achieve important breakthroughs in policy and practice. Every day, I meet more and more professionals committed to learning new ways, to overcoming the inertia that holds back innovation, and to persuasively drawing in others and passing on the courage to expand and update their mission. It falls to all of us to keep them well, as much as we can.

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