After several months without a police chief, the City of Smithville has chosen a new head of the police department.
City aldermen voted unanimously to hire Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins as the new Smithville chief during Monday night's regular monthly meeting of the city council.
"I look forward to serving the people of Smithville and working with the Smithville Police Department," Collins said after the meeting. "I think there is a fine group of young officers here and I am honored and blessed to have this opportunity."
Collins is expected to begin his tenure as chief before the end of the month. One of three people who put in applications for the position, Collins joined Smithville Police Department Patrolman Matt Farmer and Algood Police Chief Gary Harris in seeking the job.
Applicants were interviewed Saturday during a 90-minute meeting of the mayor and aldermen. City officials had the opportunity to ask questions of all three men.
Collins, a Smithville resident, worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department for 11 years before taking the job as chief in Alexandria. He served as deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain before moving on in 2006.
The new chief graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1983 and attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville from 1983-85. He served as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1988-90.
Collins said that while he is eager to begin work in Smithville, he has a great deal of love for the people of Alexandria.
"The residents of Alexandria have been a blessing to me. They are some of the finest people on earth. I have enjoyed working there. They have been good to me and hopefully I have been good for them. I have made friends there I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will hate to leave Alexandria, but this is a lot closer to home. It's a bigger challenge and I think it was the thing for me to do," said Collins.
In other news concerning city police, aldermen voted to accept a bid on 13 new rifles from King's Firearms and More Law Enforcement Division in Columbia. The department will purchase the fully-equipped Smith & Wesson .223 caliber weapons at a cost of $18,223.
Only one bid was received.