MORRO BAY POLICE OFFICER DOUG COLLINS
ANSWERS HIS NATION’S 2nd CALL TO ARMS
by Richard Hannibal
We are all responsible, in one form or another, for holding our society together; some of us more than others. Morro Bay Police Officer Doug Collins is one of those who has stepped forward to do his part.
Doug is a great defender of our community, but he is also a high quality soldier who is sometimes sent to far-off lands. You see, Doug, the police officer, is also an Army Reserve Staff Sergeant who is destined for his second tour of duty in Iraq.
There is a tremendous trade-off here that is both professional and personal to Doug. His service to the Army puts a great burden on his personal life, including his relationship with his young son.
Doug originally joined the Army National Guard in 1998 as a Combat Medic. He said he wanted to do something in contrast to the selfish attitudes of his peers at the time. He also wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. As so often happens, Doug’s assignment as a Combat Medic evolved along with the Army’s need for a Finance Technician. This is how he spent his first tour of duty in Iraq.
Doug was already a sergeant in the Army National Guard when he came to the Morro Bay PD. He had just returned from the one-year deployment to Iraq and was ready to go on with his life. As a member of the National Guard, he was required to attend one weekend of training a month and two weeks during the year. This was no problem and Doug became one of Morro Bay’s most vigilant and active police officers.
In spite of his lack of police experience, he has racked up some pretty impressive arrests and recognitions in his time with us. For instance, he was instrumental in an investigation that resulted in the arrest of people who were stealing expensive items from unsuspecting tourists and campers. Based on his initiative, Doug also made an outstanding arrest of a person dealing drugs to high school students who used a bike path to go to and from school. More recently, Doug arrested a transient child molester who was camping near this same bike path. This man had been on the run after failing to register as a sex offender in Florida.
Doug was also recognized for making the highest number of ‘Driving under the Influence (DUI)' arrests in 2008. For this he received recognition in Sacramento from Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).
The Army now needs Financial Technicians at the rank Doug has attained. They are losing sergeants and higher ranking personnel to attrition. As a result, Doug has been individually picked from his assigned unit to go to Iraq. He will undergo three months of intermittent training from July 2009 to October 2009. He will come home from these month long trainings and perhaps fill in at the police department for a couple weeks in between. Then, in October 2009, Doug is scheduled for his second deployment to Iraq, which will last at least a year.
Don’t let the ‘Finance Technician’ title fool you. Doug will be in the thick of things and his unit of assignment will involve the convoy transportation of money and important documents throughout the county. That would be a dangerous assignment even here in the United States.
This new tour in Iraq also presents quite a problem for the Morro Bay Police Department, who will lose Doug’s presence and talents for a year-and-a-half. During that time, Federal Law prohibits Doug’s position from being eliminated. The position has to be held for Doug until he returns. This presents a hardship for an already understaffed department.
We all wish Doug ‘God’s speed’ and a safe return to Morro Bay and its very grateful citizens.