‘Officer Down’: Small Towns Shocked by Surge in Ambush Cop Killings
Families, colleagues in Louisiana, Georgia, and Virginia open up in wake of heart-wrenching losses
By Steven Kovac
DOYLINE, La.—“Crinkle-cut fries are better than curly fries.”
And with that, Officer Billy Collins got the last word in on a long-running household controversy.
The joke was the last thing 17-year-old Danielle Collins heard from her father as she left the house to pick up the family’s dinner.
A far different domestic dispute was unfolding at a nearby residence at that very moment.
“At 5:45 p.m., we got the call that a suicidal guy with a gun was arguing with his wife and had fired a shot in the air,” Sgt. Coby Barton of the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office said. “Billy got there three minutes before I did. The location was just 250 yards from his house.”
The scene was in the 400 block of Green Tree Road, in the little rural village of Doyline, Louisiana, a community of 800 residents policed by a two-person department.
That night, on July 9, 2021, Officer William “Billy” Earl Collins Jr. of the Doyline Police Department became one of the 28 cops killed by ambush in the United States in 2021, as of Nov. 30.
When Barton and Lt. Chuck Clark arrived on the scene, Collins was talking to a woman at the rear of his patrol car. Then shots rang out.