Forty years ago, on January 21, 1978, the rural community of Leander voted to incorporate as the City of Leander.
At the time the new city's population was just over 300. Leander's first mayor Joe Bates appointed Cecil "C.D." Hill chief city marshal to head the Marshal's Office — the precursor to Leander forming a more traditional police force.
In its first nine months the department consisted of two unpaid staff, Chief Hill and Reserve Officer Wayne Jennings, who worked out of Hill's garage and home and utilized Hill's personal vehicle as the department's patrol car.
Since that time, the city's population has grown to more than 40,000. Current Police Chief Greg Minton — the sixth person to serve in that position — oversees 57 officers and 20 civilian staff.
Marking this growth and forty-year milestone, Assistant Chief Jeff Hayes has compiled a history book, "Retrospectus: A photographic history of the Leander Police Department."
According to Hayes, the process of compiling photos and artifacts for the book led up the idea of holding a 40th Anniversary event. The event, held last weekend, included historical displays with photographs, uniforms, badges, patches and police equipment from the department's history.
A time capsule was dedicated and sealed with an attached plaque noting that it should be opened on the department's 100th anniversary in 2078.
Minton was joined by all five former chiefs along with more than 170 current and former employees and invited guests.
The former chiefs, officers and staff members were recognized for their contributions and were presented with award plaques, commemorative coins and a copy of the history book.
“Everyone that makes the choice to enter public service should have a servant’s heart," Minton told those in attendance. "Those that apply to work for a law enforcement agency know that they are choosing a career of service — service to a community — service to people. There have now have been 40 years worth of Leander Police Department officers and staff who have had the honor and privilege of serving our community.”