Sheriff Frank Anderson
Sheriff Frank Anderson
(9/1/1938 – 4/30/2022)
Frank Anderson arrived in Indianapolis as a youth when his parents moved the family from Hopkinsville, KY shortly after WWII. While a student at Shortridge High School, he excelled in cross country, basketball, and wrestling, eventually being inducted into the Indiana High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, he began a lifelong career in law enforcement, starting as a Shore Patrol Officer in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1959, including time as a Mine Sweep Electrician. From 1961-1965, he was the first Black Marion County Deputy Sheriff and was the first deputy on the scene of the State Fair Coliseum explosion on Halloween 1963. He also served on the Beatles’ security detail during their State Fair appearance in September 1964.
Anderson went on to serve in several federal law enforcement positions, including U.S. Marshal, Inspector and Security Specialist, and helped to found and later direct the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program. He also served from 1983-1994 as the District Director of the Federal Protective Service, in charge of security at federal sites throughout the Midwest and founded his own investigative and security service, Unified Securities Associates.
He gained much local attention as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana during the seizure of the local Baptist Temple for tax evasion in February 2001, using, he said, a screwdriver to do the job instead of a jackhammer, and peacefully ending a 92-day standoff that had threatened to become violent. In June that year, his role as Marshal gave him the oversight of the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Upon the strength of his reputation and service, Anderson was elected Marion County Sheriff in November 2002 by a sizable majority and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2006. When the Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Police Department combined in 2008, he was given oversight of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department until it was transferred to the Mayor’s authority with the Department of Public Safety. Through his leadership, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office placed in the top 1% of Sheriff’s Offices in the nation in 2013.
Anderson also served the community on the boards of Crime Stoppers and Junior Achievement, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Martin University, and published a book of poetry shortly before his death. In the words of U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, “Frank Anderson modeled everything worthy about a life devoted to public service, about family values and the richness of trusted friendships, about commitment and faithfulness, about excellence infused with humility and modesty … Indiana is not likely ever to know another person quite like him or to find a match for his exquisite leadership.”
Location: Section 97, Lot 1710 (Heroes of Public Safety Section); GPS (39.8163395,-86.1709398). His grave is currently unmarked.