Collins accepted the role as the precinct’s commanding officer as a captain two years ago, having since earned a promotion and community respect.
Morris Park neighborhood activist Joe Bombace recalled first meeting Collins at the precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime two years ago, after just arriving at the precinct from a five year stint as commanding officer of the Bronx DA Squad.
“He’s a great guy,” he said of the deputy inspector who consistently inquired about the community, always asking what he could do in his role to help maintain a consistent quality of life for Morris Park residents.
“I’ve seen him out in the street,” Bombace recalled about the otherwise often-unseen fieldwork from someone of his standing. “Collins was visible and very street smart.”
Having worked closely with Collins during his time at the precinct, Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council said it was both a privilege and an honor to follow his lead.
“I think being a commanding officer of a precinct is the most challenging position a person could have within the police force,” Thompson said.
Nonetheless, he added Collins was instrumental in the instillation of two of the precinct’s most successful programs – the Clergy Council and Cops and Kids.
“I think those are two of the most positive programs we’ve ever had,” Thompson proudly explained. “And these are two projects he can definitely take credit for.”
Thompson added that Collins was also working with area business owners to try and help secure jobs for local youth.
“Every morning when I get up, I have the intentions to do the best I can, and I have no doubt he does the same thing,” he commented about Collins’ true dedication to his job and role in the community. “He’s got my respect and he’s got my friendship.”
For Collins, it will not be his first run with the narcotics division, having worked in the Manhattan South narcotics division as an investigator taking part in plain clothes buy-and-busy operations; a role that led to his promotion as sergeant in February 1987, 19 years before joining the 49th Precinct.
“I’m very pleased that I got this assignment,” said Collins two years ago. “My goal and ambition was to be a precinct commander and I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to take on a precinct as good as the 49th Precinct.”
Collins’ successor will transfer from the 49th Precinct’s Detective Squad next week.