Longtime CS officer shares perspective on working with community

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - "Jesus said, 'if you want to be great, be a servant'," reflected Craig Anderson. He takes that passage to heart every Sunday as pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

"Teaching God's word, preaching God's word," Anderson said. "To me, it's just encouraging when I can help people spiritually, emotionally."

Anderson first sought service of a different kind. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 years old.

"I wanted to get out of Texas. Travel. See the world," Anderson said.

After his four years in the armed forces, Anderson began looking to his future. The choice was simple. He would transition from serving the country to serving his community, as a law enforcement officer.

"It's very rewarding when you go out there and you solve crimes, you catch bad guys," said Anderson. He now serves as a lieutenant with the College Station Police Department. He said that an experience decades ago in Houston is what drives his passion.

"I was just standing on a street corner next to my car and I had two police officers just draw a gun on me," Anderson recalled. "I was 17 years old, and I wasn't doing anything."

"I'll be honest with you, I didn't talk a whole lot," said Anderson with a small laugh. "Just held my hands up."

Because of that misunderstanding, Anderson's mission as CSPD's public information officer is to foster something different.

"A lot of times, people see things that are portrayed in the media, or they hear things that aren't true," Anderson said. "But one thing I realize about police officers is that we're always open to dialogue. We're always wiling to sit down, talk, work with people."

For Anderson, it all comes back to the same word: service.

"You have a servant's heart and people understand that you're a real person," said Anderson, "that you're there to help in any way that you can."

Anderson strives to help and serve, Monday through Sunday.

"The main thing I think about Black History Month is working together," Anderson said. "What can I do to help a neighbor? Be a better friend, person? And how can I make an impact in the community?"

Anderson has been with CSPD for more than 30 years, and he's been pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist for nearly 20.

Anderson's two sons have followed in their father's footsteps as well. One serves in the U.S. Navy, and the other is a police officer for Texas A&M University.