Taking the Plunge into Systemic Reform … an Inevitable and Overdue End to Sameness

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

Does anyone remember where they were, what they were doing, and what various trivialities they may have been musing about on September 10, 2001?

I have long been fascinated by such dates in history. Consider also November 8, 1989; April 3, 1968; November 21, 1963; and for some, even December 6, 1941 and early in October, 1929. What these dates share in common is a relative obscurity, relative at least to the profound schisms the world and our collective worldviews would experience in mere hours hence.

In our current 2020 reality, it is still too soon to narrow this down to precise hours and dates, although May 25 is one close contender, March 11 another, and pray tell, November 3 (plus or minus) just might be the next. It won’t be lost on my fellow Canadians and our broader global readership that all of these dates bear a decidedly American nature. But let’s face it, for much of the past century, that particular elephant has taken over a lot of rooms.

This next paragraph might seem like a betrayal of my long-held discipline to not comment directly on another country’s politics. I promise it is not so intended. Rather, the elephant is again flexing its global significance, and the next sounds we hear will no doubt echo around the world once more. Today, in what struck me as one of the most profoundly delusional and politically self-destructive Tweets to date, the current President said, “The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!”

Dear lord! Almost 240,000 of his own citizens, and globally, well over a million, have “ridden COVID-19” all the way to the morgue, with many, many others already facing potentially life-long and as yet unknown health complications. When combined with his debate-night “Stand back, and stand by” dog whistle call to violent white supremacist groups, surely this must qualify as some sort of absolute nadir in political discourse, anywhere. Surely it reflects the most toxic devolution yet seen in the self-serving individualism that has shaped much of the infamous American personality, at its worst. And make no mistake, while that is an American caricature, decidedly unfair to many I have come to know and respect, it is also a cultural norm that is widely emulated elsewhere, and one which has similarly infected much of the prevailing social attitude in Canada and in countries around the world.

One can only assume that if we were able to hop into our own DeLorean and deliver the next day’s news on any of the dates noted above, there is one common viewpoint we would discover: “We knew it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was getting.”

Three years ago, in our Journal Vol. 2(3), I authored a piece titled Policing & CSWB in Canada: The Next 50 Years. My piece was built upon contributions from some very progressive thinkers, and there was indeed some prescient vision throughout. But, as I revisit it now through a 2020 lens, I can’t help thinking it could have been written on any day much like September 10, 2001. There is an underlying current of sameness in that paper, and I daresay, in most similar contributions to recent policing, CSWB, and public health discourse, that can no longer be ignored.

As one sage colleague recently put it, one way or another, we are very soon to wake up to a new age. If the current US administration survives to take another term, only the imagination limits the possible and disturbingly seismic shifts in that nation, and by extension, the damage from its exported reverberations around the globe. If instead, there is a change in the administration, surely an urgent and wide-reaching period of recovery, healing and lasting social reform must be the clarion call we will hear in its first 100 days.

Either way, our Journal team has concluded that we cannot continue to contemplate change from a comfortable starting point in which ample doses of sameness serve to dull our senses, and as we all continue to merely dip our toes into the lukewarm waters of minor, incremental adjustment.

This year, our future has become an icy cold reality. We must be ready to take the plunge. Here we go.


The Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) is proud to have developed partnerships with key organizations within Canada and globally. These partnerships provide new opportunities for knowledge exchange, innovation, and overall improved CSWB outcomes, everywhere.

Last month we announced that Niche Technology is now the proud sponsor of the Journal, and we are grateful for their support of the Journal’s mission and ongoing operations. Together with the Community Safety Knowledge Alliance (CSKA), we look forward to furthering scholarly research to a broad audience dedicated to community safety.

We are also pleased to continue the Journal’s partnership with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN). CPKN recently held the first virtual version of its annual Stanhope conference, and we were thrilled for the Journal to be represented via a video. Along with members of our Editorial team, we discussed the importance and value of the Journal to leaders in policing across the country, and how publishing with us presents an opportunity to contribute to much needed social change, safer environments for police members, and a more equitable society.

Lastly, we are excited to announce that the Journal will continue its partnership with the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association (GLEPHA). The Journal will be an official publication of LEPH2021 conference, which is being held virtually March 24-26, 2021. A call for papers will be issued and all conference presenters will be encouraged to submit their work for publication in a special LEPH2021 dedicated issue. Stay tuned for more details!

As we look to increase the publication of quality research and other articles, as well as widen our reach and readership, we will continue to expand the organizations that work with us in supporting the mission of the Journal. More details to come.

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There’s a growing sense that the police need to adapt to a new post-community policing era centered on practicing collaborative community safety.

In Canada, much of daily policing relates to social problems—not crime. A deeper dive reveals that these are often complex adaptive problems, in which fixing one part of the problem has little impact unless accompanied by corresponding changes in other related areas.

The global pandemic, together with broad-based calls for social change represent part of a shifting landscape that is increasing pressure on the police to adapt in often non-traditional ways. Among the expectations are that the police sector will improve transparency, responsiveness and accountability, while re-thinking its approaches to reflect social inclusion, social justice, and reconciliation. Meanwhile, the extraordinary levels of government stimulus and other COVID-related spending are sure to soon bring unparalleled pressures on all public services—including the police—to dramatically reduce costs.

These challenging times are bringing to light the limitations inherent in the community policing model. There is a growing recognition that integrated multi-disciplinary perspectives and responses are necessary to tackle such complex and adaptive issues and improve community safety outcomes, and that focusing only on the parts of the problem is inadequate and often counter-productive. The future lies in the emerging practice of collaborative community safety. We look forward to the December issue!

Cal Corley, MBA
CEO, Community Safety Knowledge Alliance


Have you had the chance to read our September issue? To view the Table of Contents and articles from this issue, please visit:


Highlights from this issue include:

Systemic or systematic: Officer presence and the eye of the beholder
Norman E. Taylor

“I don’t want people to think I’m a criminal”: Calling for more compassionate policing in child and youth mental health
[Original Research]
Maria Liegghio, Alexis H. Truong, Herberth Canas, Hamad Al-Bader

Measuring intimate partner violence risk: A national survey of Canadian police officers
[Original Research]
Michael D. Saxton, Peter G. Jaffe, Anne-Lee Straatman, Laura Olszowy, Myrna Dawson

Use of the ODARA by police officers for intimate partner violence: Implications for practice in the field
[Original Research]
Dale Ballucci, Mary Ann Campbell, Carmen Gill


Check out our Top 3 most read articles for the Journal of CSWB based on the number of full text views and downloads recorded on our website from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020. Click here to view other articles from our archives.

On the economics of post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders in Canada (14,647 Views)
Stuart Wilson, Harminder Guliani, Georgi Boichev
Vol 1, No 2 (2016)

The ethical dangers and merits of predictive policing (5,449 Views)
Moish Kutnowski
Vol 2, No 1 (2017)

Mobilizing and engaging your community to reduce victimization and reinvest police resources (4,112 Views)
J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes
Vol 1, No 2 (2016)


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LEPH2021 [Virtual]: The Sixth International Conference on Law Enforcement & Public Health

Date: March 24-26, 2021
More Information: https://leph2021philadelphia.com/
Registration: https://leph2021philadelphia.com/registration/


If you are interested in having your meeting featured in our newsletter, please contact JCSWBCommunity@sgpublishing.ca.

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