FARMINGTON -- Farmington's newest certified police officer is the son of a cop but did not intend to follow in his father's footsteps.
Justin Collins, 25, said people would show up at their house at all hours wanting his father to help them out in various matters. He didn't think he wanted the 24/7 life of a police officer.
Collins grew up in Winslow and graduated from Greenland High School. He enrolled at the University of Arkansas with the Air Force ROTC program and planned to study math and engineering. He injured himself, though, and needed to find a job.
That search started him on the journey of becoming a law enforcement officer.
He began working at the Washington County Detention Center at the age of 19 and found he enjoyed talking with people who came through the jail and seeing if he could make a difference in their lives.
After two years at the center, Collins decided he wanted to work on the streets and started as a police officer with Fayetteville Police Department. He worked with Fayetteville for four years before joining Farmington Police Department in November 2017.
Collins, who lives in Lincoln, said he knew some of the Farmington officers and wanted to work with them. He also wanted to be involved in a smaller community.
Collins believes in the importance of community policing and investing in the people in a community.
One time in Fayetteville, he bought a basketball goal so kids would have a place to hang out together and have something to do.
"So many people in this world are hurting and just want to know somebody cares," Collins said, adding, "Many don't see us as people with hearts and caring for others. We are people just like them."
Collins is certified as a Drug Recognition Expert and said a DWI tragedy is what motivated him to become certified.
A friend's sister was killed by a drunk driver as a 17-year-old high school student.
"We both have a passion for arresting drunk drivers...for keeping the streets safe," Collins said.
As a Drug Recognition Expert, he is trained to detect impaired drivers on drugs.
Along with serving as a police officer, Collins wears a couple of other hats.
He is youth pastor for Faith Covenant Church in Prairie Grove and owns a gutter cleaning business on the side.
Outside of his family, police job, church ministry and side business, Collins said he does not have a lot of spare time for other hobbies. He and his wife, Emma, have two daughters, a 3-year-old and one who will turn 1 in March.General News on 02/07/2018
Print Headline: New Officer Advocates Community Policing