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Andrew’s journey into the record books


By Milt Helmer

Some stories just write themselves.

Case in point. On June 1, 1942 a 26 year old Andrew F. Anewenter took his oath of office as a Milwaukee Police Officer. Little did he know at the time he would one day go down in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest serving Police officer at 61 years of service.

Andrew steadfastly rose through the ranks on the streets of Milwaukee. Back then the only communication was the old fashioned “call boxes.” He walked the beat and did his job, investigating murders, assaults, thefts, counterfeiting, drugs and even a plane crash.

Photo Andrew F. Anewenter official Milwaukee Police Department photo

Anewenter was a highly principled man as evidenced by his affiliation with the Freemasons. He started out as member of McKinley Lodge and later became Master of the Kilburn Lodge (which is now closed.) He was also very active in the Milwaukee Police Masonic Association, serving several terms as President of that group. The association is made up exclusively of Freemasons. Andrew was also a member of the Tripli Shrine and Scottish Rite.

During his long and illustrious career in law enforcement Andrew demanded the citizens be treated honestly and fairly. He worked under seven police chiefs and six mayors.

He also was recognized by two United States Presidents

On January 12, 1989 President Ronald Reagan said “As a member of the law enforcement community for more than 46 years, you have given so much of yourself to protect the lives of those who live in your community we all owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women like you who daily place the safety and wellbeing of their fellow citizens before their own.”

In 1949 Andrew saved his partners life. Andrew said he and his partner were taking two “desperadoes” to the station, when one grabbed his partner’s gun, put it to his stomach and them you are going to die. Anewenter shot the gunman. His partner was not injured. His partner was so grateful that for 6 months after he picked up Andrew at his home for work.

He rose in rank along the way and also developed skills on the polygraph. When the truth needed to be told, it was Andrew’s job in Milwaukee to find it.

In the turbulent 60s with all the civil unrest over Vietnam and civil rights, Anewenter brought a cool head under extreme pressure. It was dangerous times.

Andrew said “A few things have changed along the way like technology – but not the criminal mind,” adding “Crime doesn’t change. Crime is crime. A thief is a thief. A robber is a robber.”

On his 60 anniversary, George W. Bush said “Your decade’s long commitment to your community is truly outstanding – you have a record of achievement that is an inspiration to all.”

Along his career Andrew has guarded many famous people including Elvis Presley, Werner von Braun, General Douglas McArthur, President Harry Truman and Gerald Ford to name only a few.

Andrew F. Anewenter answered his last roll call as a detective lieutenant on in May 15, 2003 and passed away 3 months later. His son Fred said “He would have wanted it that way.”

Anewenter’s gravestone honoring the Milwaukee Police Department is located in the Forest Home Cemetery.

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