Ceres police veteran to be new chief

Rick Collins. Ceres Police chief.
Rick Collins. Ceres Police chief. Ceres Police Department

A 22-year veteran of the Ceres Police Department has been appointed to become its new chief following the retirement of Brent Smith.

Capt. Rick Collins will replace Smith, who is retiring after serving as chief since 2015. Like Smith, Collins’ entire law enforcement career has been in Ceres.

City Manager Toby Wells said the city did not recruit for the position because it has invested in grooming Collins over the past few years.

“He is positioned perfectly for what we need,” Wells said.

That, according to Collins’ plans for the department, is maintaining the status quo for now and continuing to focus on community involvement and engagement.

Collins said great strides have been made over the past five years in improving technology at the department with the addition of body cameras, improvements to the dispatch center and integrating the department’s computer-aided dispatch and records management systems. Collins oversaw the integration of the two systems and the implementation of body cameras.

Collins, 45, grew up in Ceres and joined the department as an Explorer when he was 19. He was hired as a reserve officer in 1995 and a full-time officer two years later.

Collins worked as a patrol officer and financial crimes and high-tech crimes investigator before being promoted to sergeant in 2004.

While working as a sergeant, he earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University and a master’s degree from Brandman University in organizational leadership.

In 2008, he was promoted to lieutenant and managed the department’s Special Operations units. In 2015, he was promoted to captain by Smith shortly after he became chief.

Collins is also a graduate of the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

He has volunteered as a youth soccer and baseball coach and served on the youth soccer board for three years.

He and his wife, Heidi, have a 15-year-old son, Trey.

Collins will be sworn in as the new chief following Smith’s retirement as early as next month or as late as June 1. He will earn a salary of $11,590 per month, with a three percent increase over the next two years.