The collection of insulting jokes about singers circulating might create the impression that just about any other occupation would command more respect. For Richard Collins it is definitely true that the public finds him more intimidating in his job as a Washington, D.C., police officer than in his evening hobbying as a vocal-group member. Lest anyone not understand the connection, Collins sings exclusively with other lawmen in a group that has been known as both the Doo Wop Cops and D.C.'s Finest. It is the direct opposite of gangsta rap, and many a fan of the latter genre used to its ironic, deadpan humor has unwittingly checked out the Doo Wop Cops in hope that the group is satirical. Which it isn't, coming up with a serious blend of black vocal stylings that has generated interest above and beyond the level of novelty, judging from bookings at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, the Warner Theater, the National Theater, and the Apollo.
The group is proud of having performed on-stage with Stevie Wonder and has opened a variety of shows featuring touring stars. Collins and associates did a special performance to inaugurate the opening of the Buffalo Soldier Monument in Fort Levenworth, KS, in 1992. The group also keeps busy with a round of benefits for schools, hospitals, and other charities. When singing for school children, the Doo Wop Cops go beyond mere performance and become engaged in dialogue with the students, becoming, in effect, singing counselors as well as singing cops. Other members of the ensemble include Ron Jones, Avon Barbour, Joe Herndon, Deane Larkins, and Reamer Shedrick.