Philly Native Chosen to Lead Ferguson Police Department

Andre Anderson was a boxer here before his police career in Arizona.

 (Source: Glendale Police Department)

(Source: Glendale Police Department)

A Philly native is taking over the police department in Ferguson, Mo., where clashes between police and protesters last year helped set off the “Black Lives Matter movement nationwide..

Andre Anderson, 50, has spent 24 years with the police in Glendale, Arizona, rising to the rank of commander, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Prior to that, though, he served in the Army and grew up in Philadelphia, becoming an amateur boxer long the way.

“Anderson said he takes a lot of pride in having grown up in Philadelphia, a city with a rich boxing tradition. He began training at age 12 and boxed his way through the Army as a formidable amateur,” the Arizona Republic said in a 1999 profile. “After leaving the Army, he moved to Arizona and fought two professional fights, winning both, before his boxing career was shattered in 1988. That is when he was struck by a car while fixing a flat tire along Interstate 10 near Eloy.”

CBS5 in Phoenix notes that Anderson has a big challenge on his hands. “A scathing Department of Justice report revealed problems in the police force’s methods of enforcement,” the station reports. “The report said Ferguson police officers practiced racial profiling and had come to view residents as ‘sources of revenue.; It also blamed the city courts for abuse of African-American residents.”

It’s not clear if Anderson will get the job for the long-term, the St. Louis paper reports: Anderson is being named the “interim” chief. “It’s unclear how long Anderson will hold the post, sources said. He was meeting with City Council members, staff and police leaders here this week.”