Constable Annie Collins stepped into the role of Community Safety Officer in September after the retirement of long time OPP Officer Cathy Lindsey. Annie is well aware that she has big shoes to fill in being Cathy’s replacement, but there is no doubt that she has the heart to do the job. Although she entered the police force later in life, after having four children and being a stay at home mom for many years, she says she always wanted to be a police officer. “It was either police officer or nanny,” she says. “I loved being at home, but after my fourth child I was ready to move on.”
Originally from England, Annie came to Canada thirteen years ago because of her first husband’s job with British Aerospace. It was only a year-long contract at first, but, after experiencing all that Ottawa had to offer, they decided to stay. “I fell it love with Canada,” she says. “It is so community oriented.”
Annie joined the OPP in 2012 and, after spending some time in Quinte West, joined the detachment in Prescott. One year ago, she started working the roads in Kemptville, which is closer to her home in Barrhaven. Annie has had her eye on the position of Community Safety Officer since police college and, when Constable Lindsey announced her retirement, she jumped at the opportunity to apply.
So far, Annie says she is loving her new position as North Grenville’s Community Safety Officer. Every day is different and she loves feeling like she is really making a difference in the lives of the children and people she works with. “The schools are such a positive environment,” she says. “You are a rock star in their eyes.”
Annie’s main goal when she goes into a school is to educate kids to be able to make good decisions. For example, she has been working a lot with the health unit to educate students on smoking, e-cigarettes and marijuana. “Community policing is being able to effect change, especially for small kids,” she says. “Sometimes, all they need is someone to listen and to care.”
Although Annie doesn’t live in North Grenville, it is clear that she cares about the community. She wants to make sure that it is the safest it can be for everyone, and often spends her lunch break patrolling the downtown and the Kemptville College campus. “I am learning as I go what is needed of me,” she says. “It’s been an amazing challenge.”
Annie will be the first to say what an awesome job Constable Lindsey did, paving the way for community policing in North Grenville. She has really enjoyed meeting all the teachers and community partners, and has been blown away by how much they care. “I want to maintain all the relationships that Cathy created,” she says. “I don’t have the background, but I have the enthusiasm.”