S/Lt. Brenda Collins Photo
S/Lt. Brenda Collins

Staff lieutenant Brenda Collins joined the Patrol in July 1985 as a Cadet Dispatcher at the Mt. Gilead Post. In April 1987 she began training as a member of the 116th Academy Class. She was commissioned that September and assigned to the Portsmouth Post. In October 1989 she transferred to the Wapakoneta Post and then to the Lima Post in November 1993. A year later she transferred to the Office of Training and Recruitment. In July 1996 she was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to Public Affairs in General Headquarters. In November 1998 she transferred to the Office of Recruitment and Minority Relations and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant a month later. In November 2000 she became the Post Commander at the Fremont Post. In August 2006 she was promoted to the rank of staff lieutenant and transferred to Field Operations. In May 2007 she transerred to the Office of Recruitment and Training. She earned a Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice from Tiffin University in December 2008. S/Lt. Collins currently resides in Hilliard with her husband, Retired Colonel Richard "Butch" Collins.

In My Own Words

I grew up in the small town of Mt. Gilead, Ohio. Growing up, I was involved in sports and was active within my community, but really never thought of joining the Ohio State Highway Patrol. When I graduated from high school, I attended Ohio University for a year, studying to be a forensic chemist. For a variety of reasons, I returned to my hometown after that first year. While I was working as a waitress as well as a grocery store cashier, a local trooper told my father I should put my application in at the Highway Patrol post. After much persuasion from my father and the trooper, I decided to see what the job was all about. When I was hired as a Cadet Dispatcher in July 1985, I quickly learned what the Highway Patrol was about.

An Ohio state trooper’s major responsibility is to patrol the roadways and keep the citizen’s safe, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. I graduated from the Training Academy in the 116th class, where I was assigned to the Portsmouth post as a trooper. In 1987, I was somewhat of a novelty with the citizens, since I was the first woman trooper assigned to the post.

The work ethic that was instilled in me as a child was put to work while I was learning my new job. When people see that you do your job effectively and professionally just like your male counterparts, the novelty soon wears off. Treating people with respect, along with fair but firm enforcement, is a way of life for Ohio state troopers. It doesn’t matter whether you are man or a woman; the job of state trooper remains the same. When you are dispatched to a traffic crash, it is your job to take control of the situation and investigate how the crash occurred. You may have to deliver the bad news to a family member that their loved one has been killed in a traffic crash. Or you may have to arrest the biggest, most notorious criminal in the area.

I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career as an Ohio state trooper. I currently hold the rank of Staff Lieutenant, where I serve as one of two inspecting officers. As an inspecting officer, I have the opportunity to travel to every Highway Patrol post across the state to ensure our policies and procedures are being followed. I have been involved in many different aspects of the Division. I have served as a cadet dispatcher (my first job with the Patrol), a road trooper, an Academy instructor, a criminal patrol trooper, a plainclothes investigator, the Division’s public information officer, a commander of the Recruitment section and the Fremont Post Commander.

I am married to Colonel Richard Collins, Patrol superintendent. We have two grown sons and a 2-year-old granddaughter. Being married to another Highway Patrol officer has its advantages. We have been able to learn for each other experiences, but the most important advantage is we understand how much the job entails. We understand the 24-hour requirements and the fact one of us may have to work overtime to complete the task we are working on.

My extended family also understands the nature of my job and we have always been able to work in the holidays and special celebrations. It is important to have the support of your family members. They live with your choice to be a state trooper, just as you do. The demands of the job will affect them sometimes more than the demands will affect you. For instance, working the midnight shift will have a big impact on your home life. You will be working during the night and sleeping (or trying to sleep) during the day. The decision to become a trooper should be discussed in-depth with the people you live with every day.

The advice I would offer to somebody that wants to be an Ohio state trooper is to really investigate the job and make sure you really understand what the job entails. The job is around the clock duty in all types of weather, including the worst weather. In fact, you may be the only one on the road during bad weather. While the job is demanding, it is also very rewarding. You won’t find better people to work with than the people that are a part of the Highway Patrol family.

Our employees hold strong core values, such as honesty, professionalism, self-discipline and adaptability. But even more important, the members of the Highway Patrol are a family. This very demanding job can sometimes be a heavy weight to carry, but the other members of your post help you to carry the weight.

Keeping our roadways safe for the citizens of Ohio is truly at the heart of every member of the Highway Patrol. Should you decide you want to be an Ohio state trooper, I wish you luck and look forward to meeting you someday.


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