I am saddened to announce the passing of James “Jimmy” Wayne Collins, former Spokesperson for the City of Laurel and the Laurel Police Department. James W. Collins, better known as “Jim” or “Jimmy” served the Citizens of Laurel for over 38 years in City Government.
Jimmy was hired by the Laurel Police Department on June 24, 1974, as a Communications Specialist (Dispatcher). He was promoted to Chief Police Communications Specialist on September 17, 1976, and on November 9, 1979, he was promoted to Supervisor of Police Services.
During Jimmy’s time at the Police Department, he was also the Public Information Officer for the Department. When I became Mayor, I created the first fulltime Public Information Officer for the entire City and happily appointed Jimmy Collins to fill it. He held that position from November 11, 2002, until he retired on March 31, 2012.
Jimmy Collins is a Vietnam veteran, serving in the Military from February 2, 1970, until his Honorable Discharge on October 24, 1971. He was a member of the American Legion Post 60 for over 50 years.
Jimmy is a life member of the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department with over 40 years of service. He served in many operational and administrative positions, including as a Fire Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. He served on the Board of Trustees, as Secretary, Junior and Senior Vice President, and President and Chair of the Board. He was appointed by LVFD President Vic Whipple to serve as Chaplain of the Department, a position he held until his passing.
Never one for the sidelines, Jimmy served as the President of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, President of the Haines Ridge Homeowners Association for several years, President of the Red Knight Motorcycle group in Laurel, and he served on the City of Laurel’s Public Safety and Transportation Citizens Advisory Committee to name just a few of his positions.
Jimmy was highly involved in community-wide crime prevention programs, especially those involving school children. He created the “Kids Against Crime” program and was very active in it. He received national attention for the program and weekly inquiries about it, including from the Office of the President and Governor Harry Hughes. His involvement and participation were totally voluntary, which says a lot about Jimmy’s commitment to the youth and our community.
On a personal note, Jimmy has been my friend for over 45 years, first as a member of the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department where I first met him. He hired me when I became a Communication Specialist in the Laurel Police Department, and he has been my neighbor for the past 20 years. He is a person that is always willing to help you and his fellow citizens, a person that always had a story to tell, and one that was truly a family man! I was sad to learn of Jimmy’s illness that slowed him down over the past year and saddened to learn of his passing this morning. I will miss Jimmy greatly.
For his service to the City of Laurel and community, I have ordered the City Flag to be lowered to half-staff immediately and until sunset on day the of interment, in honor and memory of former Public Information Officer James “Jimmy” W. Collins.
Memorial Services have not been completed by the family yet. Information regarding services will be released when available.