Frederick Collins: The man behind the badge

A cop who always has a heart for the community, Frederick Collins, has always made sure you don’t only see the police when something is wrong.

Collins joined the Chicago police force in 1993 during the start of the Community Alternative Policy Strategy, an incentive to get the community and police working together through beat meetings and special offices devoted to community members being able to actively communicate with the police department.

Collins took the CAPS strategy to a new level and really wanted to meet his beat in the 12th district in the near west side community and make sure he knew the people he was serving.

“I would park the squad car and walk the blocks,” Collins said. “As time would go on I would greet [the residents] when they were leaving their homes in the morning.”

“Frederick is very nice and very fair,” Collins’ co-worker Officer Cynthia Howard said. “You couldn’t ask for a better officer. If he doesn’t have the time, he’ll make the time and that is what I love about him.”

Because Collins knew the community so well, he also learned when things were out of place.

Collins remembers an incident a few years back, when he noticed something out of place. “One time, it was very popular to have the CD players for your car in the truck, and people we getting them stolen,” Collins recalls. “We couldn’t find these thieves for the longest time, but the CD players were still getting stolen.”

One day, Collins noticed two gentlemen who weren’t from the area walking with big backpacks, and he started to pay attention to them. “They were getting the CD players and putting them in the backpacks and walking down the street, just like normal residents,” Collins said.

Collins couldn’t have been able to pick out those men if he didn’t know the neighborhood, he said.

But as technology grows and the way we live life changes, the criminal mind also changes. “You have to keep with it,” Collins said, who frequently follows updated crime research and statistics.

Collins also makes sure he gets to know the children and teens of the community. “I was able to get vital information about crimes in the neighborhood,” Collins said. “I would park my squad card and watch the kids play basketball and meet them, so they knew who I was.”

One of Collins favorite moments is to see the children of the community, grow up and be successful.

But Collins’ position hasn’t come without hardships. “One thing that touched me was the loss of children lives on the streets,” Collins said. “You can’t do anything but feel bad, the gang and drug violence that has hit this city is outright saddening.”

Collins wanted to make a difference in Cook County. “You can’t sugarcoat the problems,” Collins said. “You need to start paying attention to the families.”

And with the incentive of making sure the families come first, Frederick unsuccessfully ran for Cook County Sheriff in 2009, as a Republican.

Collins said there are serious problems with the police force in Chicago. “We have 8,000 officers on the street,” Collins said. “We should have at least 5,000 more.”

Collins said that there’s so much crime in Chicago, that there just isn’t the manpower to be able to deal with it. “We need a police force that can deal with terrorism plots, gang, and drug violence,” said Collins.

“I constantly see crime in the area, and Frederick had a plan to make the crime better,” 12 district resident Rocky Shattuck said.

“Law enforcement plays a major role in the economic development in an area,” Collins said. “[The police] have the duty and responsibility to deal with the community.

“We are not using our resources correctly,” Collins said sternly. “We are not being proactive.”

Although Collins was unsuccessful in his race for Cook County Sheriff, but running a completely grass roots campaign, and achieving over 185,000 votes, Collins felt as if he was able to accomplish bringing something to the county.

“Frederick put his heart and sole into the campaign, and would put eight hours into the department and then 10 to 12 hours into the campaign,” Collins’ Campaign Assistant Manager Jim Norris said. “He is a tireless worker, very much believed in helping people and making a significant difference in the community.”

“One thing I tell people: if it something that you want to do, no matter the costs or the outcome, do it,” Collins said. “We can make this a great nation.”