A great and very good man passed away early morning on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Frank James Anderson was truly an iconic peace officer. Frank’s goal was to use his God given abilities and experiences to make his communities, his country, and the world a...
His Life Story
A great and very good man passed away early morning on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Frank James Anderson was truly an iconic peace officer. Frank’s goal was to use his God given abilities and experiences to make his communities, his country, and the world a better place for all of us to live in peace. Frank Anderson zealously promoted peace and love over division and hate. Frank was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on September 1, 1938. After Naval service in World War II, his father, J.B. Anderson, and Mother, Mattie Henry Anderson, and sons, Frank, Robert, and George, and step-daughter, Dorothy Oldham, moved to Indianapolis. Proud and hardworking parents, J.B. and Mattie raised their kids right and Frank loved them both dearly.
From the Navy Shore Patrol to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Frank Anderson spent an entire lifetime as a peace officer protecting his fellow citizens, enforcing our nation’s laws, and keeping our families and neighborhoods safe. Anderson was elected Marion County Sheriff on November 5, 2002, by a very sizable majority. In 2006, Anderson was overwhelmingly re-elected, and in 2008, served as the first head of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Previously, Frank Anderson served his country for more than 23 years in the U.S. Marshal’s Service, one of the oldest and most prestigious law enforcement agencies in the nation. Anderson served as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana, the chief federal law enforcement official in more than half of Indiana, first from 1977 to 1981, and again from 1994 to 2001. As U.S. Marshal, Anderson oversaw federal law enforcement for 62 Indiana counties with offices in Indianapolis, Evansville, Terre Haute and New Albany. He was responsible for pursuing and arresting federal fugitives, managing assets seized from criminal operations, and protecting federal witnesses and federal judges. In 2001, Anderson received the Martin J. Burke Award, given to the most outstanding Marshal in the entire nation.
Before his appointment as Marshal, Frank Anderson served 12 years in the Marshal’s Service, first as a Deputy Marshal, and later as an Inspector and Security Specialist. He helped found and later direct the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program. Anderson also worked organized crime cases, numerous undercover assignments and various other sensitive details.
From 1983 to 1994, Frank Anderson was district director of the Federal Protective Service for the U.S. General Service Administration. There he was in charge of security at federal-owned and leased facilities in Indiana and Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois. Before his appointment as District Director, Anderson founded Unified Securities Associates, his own investigative and security service.
Sheriff Anderson’s life of public service involved many notable moments. He was the first African American Deputy Sheriff to patrol the streets and roads of Marion County. As a young Deputy, he was involved in the security detail protecting the Beatles during their September 1963 State Fairground appearance. The next month, he was back at the Fairgrounds as the first Deputy on the scene of the Coliseum explosion, an event that gave him vivid memories.
The peaceful seizure of the Baptist Temple in February of 2001 gave U.S. Marshal Frank Anderson national attention. The seizure was a classic example of Anderson’s style and commitment to de-escalation in law enforcement. Sheriff Anderson often remarked that “you don’t need a jackhammer when you could do the job with a screwdriver.” In June of 2001, U.S. Marshal Frank Anderson garnered wide spread public attention again as he oversaw the execution of mass murderer Timothy McVeigh at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Sheriff Anderson served two very productive terms as Marion County Sheriff. Upon election in 2002, he inherited litigation initiated in 1972 by the ACLU over unconstitutional conditions in the Marion County Jail. It took five years of hard work to bring the Jail up to constitutional standards. In June of 2007, after 35 tortious years of litigation, Sheriff Anderson’s good friend, Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker (who had held him in contempt of court in 2003), dismissed the litigation. At the time, Sheriff Anderson made a commitment to obtain independent accreditations to raise the standards well beyond merely constitutional. Sheriff Anderson was a solid advocate of professional accreditation and law enforcement reform. By 2013, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office won the “Triple Crown”, placing it in the top 1% of Sheriffs’ Offices in the nation. Ever mindful of the friends in the Sheriff’s Office who lost their lives in the line of duty, Anderson commissioned Indianapolis Firefighter Ryan Feeney to sculpt the “Fallen Deputy” statute which stood at 40 S. Alabama Street for more than a decade. On May 4, 2022, with the opening of the Community Justice Campus, the “Fallen Deputy” memorial was rededicated at 695 Justice Way in front of the new Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Anderson graduated from Shortridge High School, where he was an avid student-athlete. In fact, Sheriff Anderson’s outstanding career in high school wrestling earned him induction into the Indiana High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of Shortridge State Championship cross country team and played in the Indiana – Kentucky all-star baseball game. Frank began his career in law enforcement in 1956 in the U.S. Navy as a Shore Patrol officer and was honorably discharged as a Mine Sweep Electrician in 1959. From 1961 to 1965, Anderson served as a Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy. He was an active member of the community, serving as a Board Member of Crime Stoppers and Junior Achievement. In 2019, Frank J. Anderson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree by Martin University in recognition of a life devoted to upholding the rule of law. This year, Frank Anderson published his first book “Lines and Rhymes, the Poet Sheriff, Frank J. Anderson”.
Frank J. Anderson is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Mercedes Anderson; children, daughter, Franché Andrade and son, Henry; grandchildren, Lundun P. Hull, Ferrin M. Parham, and Darrian A. Broomfield, and Ariel Andrade; great grandchildren, Justus A. Parham, Reign I. Hull, and Jacob Parham, and numerous nieces and nephews.
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Indiana Sheriffs' Association
May 10, 2022 8:50 AM
We are thinking of you during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends!! Indiana Sheriffs' Association
A Grove of 3 Memorial Trees was planted in memory of RETIRED SHERIFF FRANK JAMES ANDERSON
Janet Langhart Cohen
May 11, 2022 12:22 PM
Dear Mercedes and family, my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy at the passing of dear Frank, he was a great man, public servant but what I most admired about him was his love of you and his family. May your happy memories comfort you all in this difficult time. Rest In Peace dear Frank, Love, Janet Langhart Cohen
Lula M Patton
May 11, 2022 10:10 AM
My sincere condolences to Sheriff Anderson’s family. A life of service to the community and country. Rest in Heaven.🙏🙏🙏
Expression of Sympathy
May 11, 2022 9:45 AM
A Memorial tree was ordered in memory of RETIRED SHERIFF FRANK JAMES ANDERSON. Plant a Tree
A high school friend- Janet Dietrick Huxhold
May 10, 2022 12:15 PM
Henry and family, Sending thoughts and sympathy at this difficult time. Hold tight the memories.
Plant a tree in memory of RETIRED SHERIFF FRANK JAMES ANDERSON