BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Funeral services were held Friday morning for fallen Doyline reserve officer and Webster Parish Deputy William “Billy” Earl Collins, Jr. in Bossier City.
Collins was killed in the line of duty last Friday night while responding to a disturbance call while on duty as a reserve patrol officer for the Village of Doyline.
Friends, family, and representatives from law enforcement agencies have come from all over Louisiana and beyond to gather for a memorial service that began at 11 a.m. at First Bossier church with an officer processional into the sanctuary and a final salute for Deputy Collins, followed by tributes and a eulogy.
Several people spoke in remembrance of Deputy Collins, including one of his two daughters, Danielle.
“My dad was always the man that would tell you that you could count on him. No matter what the situation was. He cared so deeply for those he loved,” she said. “I wish I could convey the amount of love and pride he held for his family and his community. But I know you all know how deep it was.”
Danielle told stories of her father’s fun-loving ways and his commitment to service. That commitment was echoed by his boss at the sheriff’s office, Jason Parker.
“Without hesitation, Billy always answered the call to serve and protect. He performed his loyal duty to his fellow citizens. It was a duty that he held to the highest esteem,” said Sheriff Parker. “That’s exactly what Billy Collins did last Friday when he responded to a call from someone in need. He honored his badge and his oath. He will forever be celebrated for his sacrifice. For his loyalty. For his courage.”
Doyline Police Chief Robert Hayden got emotional when talking about Collins and the relationship between the two. Earlier this week, Hayden told NBC 6 News that while on the job Collins called Hayden “Boss,” while off duty he called him “Dad.”
Chief Hayden said four years ago he sat down with Collins and Billy’s wife, Teresa, to discuss Billy’s desire to work for the police department. He told the crowd in attendance that Teresa was apprehensive about Billy serving because back in 1999, in northern Oklahoma, Deputy Vernie Roberts was killed in the line of duty. Deputy Roberts was Teresa’s grandfather.
“Teresa and her family started reliving the nightmare they had once lived before,” said Hayden. “When I receive the call and was told what was happening, I immediately remembered the conversation Teresa, Billy, and I had four short years before. That conversation will always haunt me because I said, ‘Doyline is a one-mile radius town with good people. And I do not think anything bad will ever happen to him.'”
After the eulogy, a traditional Last Call/End of Watch for fallen officers was conducted and officers from Webster Parish and Doyline passed by Collins’ casket before leaving the sanctuary in order to prepare for a final processional from the church to Hillcrest Memorial Park and Cemetery for graveside services that will include a Patriot Guard presentation, a 21-gun salute, Taps, a helicopter flyover, and flag presentations.
Law enforcement formed a “Sea of Blue” procession following visitation hours Thursday night. Onlookers stood along the route to pay their respects as the procession arrived at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Cemetery Thursday night as dozens of law enforcement vehicles rolled by with emergency lights flashing.