The Anna Police Department was recently awarded a WAVE grant, allowing the department to pay for more overtime. Working on the Texas Department of Transportation grant, Anna police officers worked 20.5 hours of overtime between Dec. 15-Jan. 1. Police Lt. Jeff Caponera said the grant resulted in five traffic stops, two arrests, one for DWI and one for not having a driver’s license or insurance, and a total of 25 citations written for traffic violations. The officers concentrated more on U.S. Highway 75, State Highway 121, State Highway 5, and Farm to Market Road 455 during these grant hours.
“We are allocated 100 hours of overtime, paid by the state, and broken down into four time periods over the year,” Caponera said. “We have three more to go. The reason we got involved with this, that we applied for impaired driving immobilization grant, is that we are seeing a huge increase in our DWI arrests and accidents involving alcohol or drugs. And, with growth, we have a lot of traffic coming here anyway, and so we felt like this (added patrol) benefits our residents. A DWI arrest can take an officer out of patrol for three or four hours. By adding this overtime component, our officers could focus both on regular patrol and calls, along with their normal DWI work.”
He added that one of the department’s focuses is to educate the motoring public on the dangers of driving while drinking or using drugs.
Soon, the Anna PD will be using technology to work with high school students on these driving dangers. Using goggles, called “Fatal Vision,” to simulate the different levels of impairment that drugs and alcohol place on their drivers, students can learn how their judgment and their reflexes both are impaired under those conditions.
“The more people we educate, the fewer accidents are incurred, maybe over time there can be hundreds of lives saved,” Caponera said.