Executive Director's Message

Chris Collins

A Change on the Executive Board

That’s right, we are going through another change on the Executive Board here at the PPA. Kirk Hooten has decided to go back to Narcotics. I am writing this article to tell you all a little about Kirk from my perspective. I first met Kirk about 15 or so years ago, playing police softball. We played with some pretty good athletes who took their softball very seriously. I was an average-to-slightly-above-average player, and as I later learned, Kirk was a very good player. I tell you this so that as I describe getting to know Kirk over the years, you may understand why I came to like him so much.

When Kirk first joined the team, the initial thing I noticed about him was that, at any temperature below 100 degrees, he always had his beanie cap on. I thought this was a little strange until I saw him without it. Kirk was simply trying to make his head look bigger. Kirk still wears the same size 6 hat that he wore when he played Little League baseball. I am allowed to make fun of the size of Kirk’s head because I wear a bucket for a hat. The next thing I noticed about Kirk was that he just showed up to play and have a good time — winning or losing was not as important to him as having fun. Trust me, that was a breath of fresh air on that team. Kirk and I began to talk before, during and after the games. It was during these conversations that I started to realize that Kirk was a happy-go-lucky guy, but also very smart.

Our softball days together came to an end when we both gave it up at about the same time. Kirk continued to work in Narcotics and I ended up here at the PPA. From time to time I would see Kirk when I went out and did briefings. Each time I did a Narcotics briefing, he would have questions, suggestions and ideas about things the PPA could or should do. I kept asking him to be part of the team and join the Board of Directors. He finally gave in and accepted an at-large spot on our PPA Board. Kirk brought his happy-go-lucky outlook to the Board just as he had to our softball team. He also brought his brain. I told you earlier that during our conversations on the softball field I learned that Kirk was not just a pretty face, but also a smart guy. Well, at the PPA Board meetings this became known to all of us. Now I don’t claim to be the smartest guy on the block, but I am smart enough to surround myself with smart people, so I started asking Kirk to come to the full-time Executive Board. After a couple of offers, he accepted (which was the first and only time I wondered just how smart he really was).

Kirk came to the Executive Board and spent three years here. During that time, he worked tirelessly on behalf of our membership. I don’t know if it was the luck of the draw, but often it seemed that the cases he was working on involved his friends; regardless, he seemed to always want the difficult cases. Many times he was successful in these cases. But I think Kirk really found his niche here when I asked him to be the director of governmental affairs. Kirk not only accepted this position but jumped in with both feet and quickly made the job his. He did this knowing that he would have to be away from his family for four months during the legislative session. The PPA had a very successful legislative session in 2013, and there is no doubt that Kirk’s research, relationships and smarts played a huge role in our success. Kirk took on the big boys in that session over the More Cops tax, and he was successful in getting a bill passed that was beneficial to both the taxpayers and the cops. Kirk returned from the session and continued his work here at the PPA.

Then the day came when he told me he was going back to Narcotics. I selfishly asked him to stay and gave him several reasons why he should. In the long run, I believe he made the decision that was best for him and his family. There is no doubt that every member of the PPA, and for that matter, every law enforcement officer in the state, should say “Thank you” to Kirk for all the work he has done over the past several years on our behalf. I will personally miss Kirk for two reasons: first, because of the great work he did here at the PPA, and secondly and most importantly, because he is a man of character and my good friend. Like I said, I selfishly wish he was still here, but I wish him and his family only the best. I hope he remembers to call me for a shot of Jameson from time to time.

As always, be safe and fight the good fight.