Ceres police chief turnover has been low the past several decades with three men running the show since 1983. Make that four as of Friday.
Friday’s retirement of Brent Smith has resulted in Rick Collins becoming Ceres’ top law enforcement official and first-ever African-American to serve in that position. Collins assumed the mantle of the Ceres Police Department but has been the number 2 in charge for four years.
Collins will be sworn in during a special Thursday evening ceremony at the Ceres Community Center.
Smith, who became chief after Art deWerk’s departure in June 2014 and retired Friday, had elevated Collins from lieutenant to captain. Smith plans to relocate his family to Idaho, citing California’s leadership as too much for his political taste.
Collins began his tenure with the Ceres Police in 1992 at the age of 18 years old as a police explorer. He excelled in the program, and later became a Reserve Police Officer in 1995. Collins worked his way up through the ranks, consistently excelling each assignment on his career path.
In 1997 Collins was hired as a sworn officer. In August 1998, he became a member of the Ceres Police SWAT team. During his tenure with the agency Collins has spent time in detectives, from 1999 to 2004, where he excelled as a HighTech Crimes detective.
He was promoted to sergeant in October of 2004, and served as a patrol watch commander / shift supervisor. In August of 2005, he was elevated to the position of SWAT team leader.
While employed with CPD, Collins earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree and also completed the FBI National Academy in 2017. In 2008 he became the department’s second-ever lieutenant.
Collins’ salary has been set at $11,590 per month, or $139,080 annually.
Collins, a 1987 Ceres High School graduate, is married, to his wife Heidi, and they have a son Trey.
Besides his police work, Collins has volunteered for many years as a youth soccer coach and board member.