As another year comes to a close, reflecting upon 2017 reveals a critical year of change for the City of Anna, that inlcuded many positives.

Anna Lieutenant Jeff Caponera said it was a memorable yet challenging year for the Anna Police Department.

“The city received recognition by three different organizations as one of Texas’ safest cities. This is a great accomplishment given the challenges facing a rapidly growing community,” Caponera said. “Landing on such distinguished lists takes more than just good police work — it requires the cooperation and support from the community. Our officers are grateful for the community’s support and will continue our hard work to keep Anna one of the safest cities in Texas.

“Maintaining our ‘Community First’ pledge, the men and women of Anna Police Department banded together to help identify a way to build the relationships between the police and Anna’s youth,” Caponera said. “Born from this brainstorming session was the Anna Police Explorer program. The officers, many of whom volunteered countless hours, researched other explorer programs and met with the Boy Scouts of America to turn this idea into reality.”

“Our core group of police explorers have helped build the program from the ground up including designing their uniforms, patches and command structure. The explorers have participated in several community events including National Night Out, Glowfest and the annual Christmas parade. They continue to train with our experienced officers to ready themselves for state and national explorer competitions. Programs such as this is another example of APD’s community commitment.

“Another first for our department was the promotion of three police sergeants,” Caponera said. “This was the largest promotional process our police department has experienced. Qualified police officers from within the agency competed for three supervisor positions.”

“The officers were subjected to a litany of tests that assessed his or her capabilities and that forced them to dig deep within themselves and complete a self-assessment, something that is very uncomfortable but needed if one desires to succeed. APD now has competent police supervision on each shift, a component that will help foster the growth of officers and the agency.”

The Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Hall said the Chamber, along with the city, also experienced great growth in 2017.

“The Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce was proud to be a part of the community in 2017,” Hall said. “We held events where the citizens and guest were able to attend including the City of Anna 4th of July Fireworks Show, Glowfest and Downtown Christmas Parade.”

Hall said the Chamber was able to be part of change “The Chamber also hosted a non-biased, public forum for the May and November City Council and Mayor election. On May 18, Anna ISD school board recognized the Anna Chamber with ‘The Stand Up for Texas Public Schools’ award, which was given to local organizations and businesses that are active in the community.”

Anna Independent School District Executive Director of Support Services Dr. Brad Duncan said Anna ISD was similarly met with tremendous growth in 2017.

“Anna ISD has experienced another year of tremendous growth. This growth has been highlighted by the completion of the Anna Middle School addition, opening Anna ISD’s own baseball, softball and tennis complex and the construction of Harlow Elementary school,” Duncan said.

“These projects reflect the growth that our community is experiencing. The student population grew by 224 students last year and we are projected to grow by another 300 in the 2017-18 school year. Our academic focus has been to prepare college and career ready students who can transition from Anna ISD into their next step in life,” Duncan said. “One of the focuses of the district is to embrace the growth, while working to maintain a family centered atmosphere. The upcoming 2018 year will bring new opportunities and challenges that make this a great place. Anna ISD and the communities we serve are a great place to live, work, and has a bright future ahead.”

Anna also welcomed a number of new businesses to the area in 2017. The residents of Anna received a Walmart, making shopping easier and closer to home. Anna also welcomed Branches Dental and Strengthen Your Family Chiropractic, among other new openings.

Despite the many positives Anna experienced in 2017, Caponera said the APD also experienced some not so pleasant moments.

“We experienced the city’s first homicide since the police department’s inception in 2005,” Caponera said. “Thankfully, the quick response and collaborative efforts put forth by the Anna PD, Collin County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers led to the quick identification and apprehension of the suspect. Considering the unfortunate situation, it is always a good feeling knowing that we could bring swift justice to a grieving family and reassure the community that our agency will work tirelessly to ensure criminals are not left to roam the streets.”

Caponera said the police department ended the year experiencing a significant loss. “The recent resignation of Chief Jenks (in December) has left a void in the hearts of our officers. Chief dedicated the last 13 years of his life to the men and women of APD and he will be sorely missed. The passion, integrity and trust he brought to the agency, along with his unwavering appreciation and love for his team, is a true testament to his character and leadership. The men and women of APD and the citizens of Anna were blessed to have Chief Jenks leading the helm.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Anna Police Department, it has been our pleasure to serve you in 2017,” said Caponera. “Rest assured the level of professionalism and quality of police service we provide will continue in 2018 and beyond.”

Stay tuned in 2018 to see what new expansions and plans the City of Anna has in store!