Sedalia Police Department Officer Rodney Collins has been an officer with the SPD since 1988, and of his 25 years experience with the department, he has been associated with the D.A.R.E program since the summer of 1991.
“My career in DARE started in September of 1991 when I went through DARE Officer Training. To be honest with you, that two week school was probably the hardest that I have been to in law enforcement,” Officer Collins said.
Collins was asked how he got involved with the long-running program.
“The first DARE officer we had was Cendy Carson. She approached me a long time ago and asked me if I was interested in becoming a DARE officer. She was getting ready to have a child and she was looking for someone to be a backup for her. It sounded like something I would be interested in doing,” Collins said.
In 2007 Collins was nominated for and won Missouri DARE Officer of the Year, an honor of which he is very proud.
“In 2007 two teachers from Sacred Heart, Linda Campbell and Angela Hostetler, nominated me for Missouri DARE Officer of the Year and I got it. It helped open up some doors for me.
“That next year I decided to come back and run for a position, Sergeant at Arms, on the Missouri DARE Officers Association board. I won and I did that up until last year when I became vice president. It is a three year commitment,” Collins explained.
This past year Collins became the Missouri DARE Officers Association president as part of his three-year commitment. During the final year of the commitment Collins will become past president for the organization.
Collins spoke once again of the doors that had been opened for him by winning DARE Officer of the Year.
“One of the other doors that got opened, was that I became a DARE mentor in 2009. In 2009 I went through DARE Mentor Training in Jeff City at the Missouri Police Chiefs,” Collins said.
Collins was asked to explain what his duties as president of the Missouri DARE Officers Association are for the year.
“Probably my biggest duty is next year’s conference. That rests on my shoulders. I have a wonderful conference coordinator. Her name is Amanda Blank. She is a deputy in Cooper County. She is a real wonderful person and she has things under control.
“We also have our board meetings. We have four meetings a year. We try to find a central location. We have a meeting coming up in January, but we will meet at the conference site in Branson.
“Another duty is making sure to get the word out to other officers in the DARE program about new information,” Collins said.
Collins mentioned that Sedalia has another strong representative on the board in Officer Brad Beard.
Collins believes his job has been very rewarding since becoming involved with the DARE program, but one thing stands out above the rest.
“The most rewarding thing that I have got to do in my 23 years of teaching DARE, is to have my own kids, Ryan and Cody, as students,” Collins said.