In 1991, now retired OPP Provincial Constable Scott MacLeod answered a distress call about a man with a gun threatening suicide. Just another addict going to jail was his first thought. Little did Scott know his involvement would be the beginning of a life-transforming event for Joe Roberts. The outcome was positive both for Joe and the police officer. Joe credits MacLeod with saving his life.

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Joe feels there needs to be more awareness of positive outcomes between people in mental health crisis and the police and has reached out to the OPP Association to tell his story, in an effort to help bridge that gap in any way he can. This podcast is the beginning of that outreach to create awareness of the good that police do to defuse situations involving people in mental health crisis.  A social media campaign on OPP Association socials with Joe is planned in the near future.

Since Joe’s mental health crisis, he has since gone on to become a successful CEO and live a productive life. He is passionate about giving back to the community and raising awareness about mental health and homelessness.

Joe was the driving force behind “The Push for Change”. Joe began pushing a shopping cart across Canada to raise awareness and dollars to end youth homelessness. This national trek started May 1, 2016, from St. John’s, Newfoundland and ended September 29, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia: a 9,064 km, 17-month journey. The shopping cart is a symbol of Joe’s transformation from youth homelessness. The shopping cart for Joe represents the outcome we are trying to avoid for future generations of young people.

OPP Association Director, Rob Jamieson was among the many OPPA and OPP members, along with members of the public, who walked alongside Joe on the Push For Change.

In this podcast episode Rob interviews Joe about his life changing experience with an OPP officer, when his life challenges began, who inspired him to change, and the Push for Change, an event that Joe is carrying on today with his continued awareness and outreach.

If you have suggestions for future podcast topics or topics that can be shared celebrating the good work of our membership in our OPPA magazine “Beyond the Badge” (must be signed in as a member to OPPA website to view), please email