On the one hand, as I approached Canada’s five national banks to help fund the new national Safe Community organization, I also hoped to reach a local community willing and able to manifest the vision of what this movement could represent for its citizens.
The organization that first pointed me toward the Safe Community movement was the Industrial Accident Prevention Association of Ontario, which employed injury prevention experts in every region of Ontario. Through this network I was directed toward one community that would soon become the first champion of a national effort to reduce injuries at a community level.
And this is how I came to meet Barry King, Chief of Police in Brockville Ontario. Barry has now retired (well actually in truth he will never truly retire after a 46 year policing career. He served as Chief for 20 years in Brockville and Sault Ste. Marie, was Superintendent at Peel Region Police and began his career as a military police officer.
Barry took it on. He, with David Paul, was responsible for creating the first nationally designated Safe Community in Canada, in Brockville. His community was designated the very first day we launched the national organization as well.
So, while Barry’s professional work in crime and harm reduction was one thing, his volunteer service and leadership in community safety was above and beyond; a source for the inspiration I personally took from this incredible man.
Barry was one of those police guys who got the connection that preventing harm would be at least as important as dealing with it after bad things happened.
He was instrumental in building on efforts that not only reduced injuries through education and awareness, but also focused on building confidence and character in young people, particularly for those at more risk than others.
Barry is the ultimate Up-Stander. He not only talked the talk, which he did by travelling anywhere in Canada or abroad to tell anyone who would listen what it means to take on the challenge of becoming a Safe Community, but did it for real day-in, day-out back home.
Even more than that that, as an international Safe Community which is obliged to seek out ways to help out other communities in other countries, Barry took it the whole nine yards.
Some thirty years ago, a nuclear power plant imploded in Chernobyl, Ukraine. It devastated the area, created a toxic environment in the immediate surroundings with lasting after effects from radiation exposures. Some years later, after the founding of Safe Communities in Brockville, Barry partnered with Canadian Aid for Chernobyl. He travelled to Belarus to support the Chausy and Minsk Police and Fire Departments to champion a Safe Community. The priority focus as he says, was on children and youth, who while only 20% of their population were 100% of their future.
He was part of the ongoing effort to donate used fire trucks to the region from Canada, brought Ukrainian children to Brockville for better dental and medical care as well as to expose the children to other important educational aspects around healthy and safe living to take back with them.
Barry King is a down to earth, absolutely great guy – and you can take his word to the bank. Suffice to say that there are people of all ages at home and abroad who are alive and well and would not otherwise be so had it not been for Barry King.
I thought I would attach just a short little list of the recognition he has received for all his works over his career, beyond what I am tossing his way!
-Officer of the Order of Merit – Governor General of Canada
-Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
-Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
-Knight Hospitaller, Order of St John of Jerusalem
-Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal
-Canadian Police Exemplary Service Medal – 45 year Bars
-YMCA Canada Peace Medal
-Republic of Belarus, Order of the Grand Master Police Medal
-Alumnus of Distinction, Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology
-GIC Board Chair, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
-OACP Presidents’ Award of Merit
-Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal
-Community Achievement Award – CAM-H for programs preventing substance abuse
-Solicitor General – Ontario, Crime Prevention Award
-Honorary Diploma, St Lawrence College Board of Governors
-Highest Military Standard Award – Minister of National Defense (Canada)
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