May 1, 2022

Frank J. Anderson, Marion County’s first Black sheriff, dies

Courtesy of Marion County Sheriff's Office

Courtesy of Marion County Sheriff's Office

Frank J. Anderson, a former U.S. Marshal and Marion County’s first Black sheriff, died Saturday.

According to a news release, Anderson died peacefully at his home Saturday morning. Anderson served as Marion County sheriff from 2003-2011. He worked as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana from 1997-1981 and from 1994-2001.

“I can’t give you a one-line quote to sum up the life of Frank J. Anderson,” said Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal in a news release. “He was so important to our community. Over the last 60 years, his direction and example in law enforcement – both at the federal and local levels – has positively influenced and affected the lives of many, many people. It certainly has mine. He will be truly missed.”

Anderson grew up in Indianapolis. After graduating from Shortridge High School in 1956, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 1961, he joined the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and was the first Black deputy assigned to the road patrol division. Anderson was the second Black Sheriff in Indiana’s history.

In a tweet, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Anderson was a “trailblazer and force of good in Indianapolis.”

“As Sheriff and U.S. Marshal, he sought to unite residents to promote safety throughout the community. We should all aspire to his example of lifelong service,” he wrote.

Anderson is survived by his wife and two children, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Contact WFYI criminal justice reporter Katrina Pross at kpross@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @katrina_pross.

Pross is a Corps Member of Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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