During this first week of November, we tip our hat to Detective Lt. Kevin Collins, a Pine Bluff police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Monday, October 5th while responding to a call at Econo Lodge on North Blake Street. Kevin, along with two other officers, was at the location in connection with an on-going local criminal investigation. Collins is the first Pine Bluff officer killed in the line of duty since 1985.
A five-year veteran of the Pine Bluff Police Department, Collins was just 35 years old. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of service, volunteer spirit, and love.
Pine Bluff Police chief Kelvin Sergeant said Collins was very active in the community and received numerous awards for his hard work and dedication. "When he raised his right hand and took that oath, this young man took off running," Sergeant said in a story in the Pine Bluff Commercial. "He was the kind of officer where there was no end to his shift."
A native of Pine Bluff and a graduate of Pine Bluff High School, Collins had deep roots in the city. Before joining the Pine Bluff Police Department, Collins worked as a dispatcher at MECA (Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association) and for the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Collins had always aspired to be a police officer. He believed that a career in law enforcement was something to be proud of, which is no surprise, given that he had been around law enforcement for much of his life. Kevin’s stepfather, Charles Hobbs, had been a captain with the Jefferson County sheriff's office.
Once he landed his dream job, it didn’t take long for Collins to distinguish himself. He worked in the Patrol Division as a rookie, served as a mentor to at-risk boys during the department’s two-week Youth Empowerment Camp, and served on the Violent Crimes Task Force, where he helped take a large number of guns off the street. In 2017, he was named Officer of the Year after he responded to a fire at the St. John Alexander Tower Apartments and rescued a 95-year-old woman from the burning building. Collins found the woman lying on the kitchen floor after he had kicked in the door.
In his years with the Pine Bluff Police Department, Collins demonstrated a knack for being in the right place at the right time and doing whatever was necessary to get the job done. That can-do spirit was evident in everything he did, including his spiritual life. Collins was affiliated with New Life Church's Pine Bluff where he served as a security officer and assisted the congregation in countless other ways.
When he was honored in 2017 for his heroism in the fire, Collins read a statement at the awards dinner, which he made available to the media. "As I was pushed into my purpose as a police officer, it was either sink or swim," Collins said at the time. "Thank God I chose to swim, so it seems second nature to me and my fellow officers to extend the lifeline to save others."
Please join us in honoring Collins and his remarkable contributions to our community.
Sources: Pine Bluff Commercial, KATV, Arkansas Online, Magnolia Reporter