NPD changes the guard

Police Chief Nikeo Collins Sr. received the City of Natchitoches flag from Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at his inauguration ceremony. In center is Assistant Chief Harman Winters and at right is Capt. Brad Walker. In back is Clerk of Court David Stamey who later issued the Oath of Office.

Juanice Gray | Editor

It was standing room only at the Events Center as Nikeo Collins Sr. was inaugurated as Police Chief of the City of Natchitoches in a formal ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 1. The program began with his youngest son, Nikeo II, leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Akilah Issac sang the American Anthem and closed the ceremony as well with an uplifting rendition of “Rise Up.”

This article published in the Sept. 4, 2021, print edition

Emcee was Sen. Louie Bernard and speakers were Sheriff Stuart Wright, District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington, former Sheriff Victor Jones, Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. and Interim Chief Harman Winters who each recalled their professional and personal relationships with Collins citing his willingness to work with others to get the case solved and discuss any issue. Each advised him to use his expertise, knowledge and experience to run the department, and accept help and support from everyone.

Collins has an extensive resume in law enforcement, exclusively thorough the NPD. He began as a reserve deputy, then deputy, emergency response team commander, information officer and was also SWAT Commander and leader of the Multi-jurisdictional Drug Task Force among other duties before ultimately attaining the rank of Chief. During his tenure he got more than 40 grants for the department totaling over $1 million.

The changing of the guard was done through a solemn ceremony that symbolized the organized transition of the change of command. Capt. Brad Walker received the flag of the City of Natchitoches from the NPD Color Guard representing the safekeeping of the City. Walker then presented the flag to Winters, who in turn, presented it to Mayor Williams, thereby relinquishing his command. Williams then presented the flag, as a symbol of a new and official command, to Collins. Collins then returned the flag to Walker representing the first sign of allegiance to the new Chief of Police.

Collins’ wife, LaQuita, who is also Chief of Communications for 911, then pinned the rank and badge on her husband.

Finally, Clerk of Court David Stamey issued the Oath of Office to make the confirmation official.

Collins vowed to use all his skillsets to work with his police force. He said he would meet individually with every member of the force to hear their concerns, needs, insights and expectations. He also spoke on the willingness of the sheriff’s department, DA’s office, hospital and others to work together and share information. ”One thing that never changes is people expect service. The public demands we do our jobs and that is not asking too much,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with recognition of the police force, benediction and refreshments. The entire ceremony is available as a live stream on the Natchitoches Times Facebook page.