A lifelong Andover resident, Collins didn’t restrict his community work to policing.
He was active in youth sports, coaching hockey, softball and soccer, while also playing a lot of sports himself, including golf. His daughters, Jackie and Samantha, were athletes at Andover High School.
“I’m a very competitive golfer,” said Collins, who declined to reveal his handicap. He is a member at Indian Ridge Country Club.
But, he said, upon retirement, “I’m going to paint my house. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. And I’m going to play golf.”
While he could have stayed on the force until he was 65, Collins said he decided to retire because he was looking for a change.
“I want to try something else while I am still at an age I can do it,” he said, noting that he hopes to join a friend in creating a private security agency. “I’ll miss the people I work with, the guys I’ve been here for years with.”
But he said he doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
“I’m in the book,” he said.
He said he’s very optimistic about the future of the department, which is filled with a lot of “quality people. ... There are a lot of great, young, intelligent officers on the force.”
Collins, who started his career in law enforcement as the first, full-time patrolman in Newcastle, N.H., said police work has changed significantly since he first pinned on the badge. In the old days, it wasn’t unusual to arrest someone in a fight or at a local tavern for misbehaving. Now, such calls are uncommon.
Instead, police officers have become in effect part of the social services network, helping people with mental health problems and domestic issues.