flag image
Retired Grosse Pointe Park public safety officer Keith Andersen, in an Illinois hospital, largely paralyzed from a car crash last month.

July 24, 2014
THE GROSSE POINTES — Keith Andersen's former colleagues call him a street-smart cop with a soft heart.

"I worked with him for 15 years," said Ryan Milroth, a Grosse Pointe Park patrolman. "He wasn't a robot, a by-the-book kind of guy. He'd be there to back you up."

Milroth and others return the favor 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, at Farms Pier Park.

They're holding a benefit corn roast for Andersen.

He retired this year from the Park and was paralyzed June 21 in a roll-over car crash in Illinois.

"We're going to do all we can do to help him," said Tom Shimko, an officer in Grosse Pointe Farms. "The medical costs are astronomical."

"We're collecting donations for raffle and silent auction items to help raise money for the family," said lead organizer Joe Adams, a City of Grosse Pointe officer and president of Fraternal Order of Police Grosse Pointe Lodge 102.

Restricted entry into the residents-only park is waived for people attending the benefit.

"All money raised is going to Keith's medical expenses," Adams said. "We've gotten a ton of donations already."

Andersen worked 19 years for the Park, where he and his wife raised three daughters.

"He retired and moved to Illinois, where his wife's family was from," Adams said.

"His daughter moved there with a grandchild," said Shimko, Andersen's friend since being classmates at the police academy. "He was one of those caring, loving, family guys. But, when he was on, he was on, like a bulldog. Strong as a horse."

"He was frustratingly active," said Milroth, admiring Andersen's dedication. "He was like the Energizer Bunny, unbelievably driven."

Andersen moonlighted in the X-ray department of Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe.

He was driving home from a comparable job in Illinois when he fell asleep at the wheel.

The crash broke his neck in two places, Adams said.

"The story is sad," Adams said. "He has movement in his arms, but not his hands. Still too early to tell. His muscles are firing, so that's a positive."

Andersen's commanding officers in the Park often rewarded him as a go-getter.

Andersen served in the plainclothes unit, on the stolen car task force and bicycle patrol.

He earned a director's commendation, which isn't given regularly, and received numerous department commendations and at least a dozen chief's letters for jobs well done.

"If there was something going on, he usually had his hands in it," said Dave Hiller, Park public safety director. "He kept his nose to the ground and paid attention to what was happening in the city."

"I worked with him for 19 years," said John Schulte, retired Park deputy chief, now public safety director in Grosse Pointe Shores. "He was very well informed of the street. He knew every bad guy. It is very, very sad that he was involved in this accident."

A $10 donation is requested at the Fraternal Order of Police Grosse Pointe Lodge 102 corn roast benefit for injured former Grosse Pointe Park officer Keith Andersen, 5:30 to 9:30, Tuesday, Aug. 5, at Grosse Pointe Farms Pier Park, 350 Lakeshore at the foot of Moross.

For more information or to donate money, auction or raffle items, contact Officer Joe Adams, lodge president, at psoadams@gmail.com.

Updated information may be on Grosse Pointe Lodge 102's facebook page.

To read the rest of the story, log in or subscribe to the Grosse Pointe News >>

Family Center Ask the Experts 1
The Hill-2
Jaguar Landrover 3
Ed Rinke Left
Renaissance Restoration-Right