Friday, September 16, 2022

Windham Police Department bids a fond farewell to retiring Captain Bill Andrew

Captain Bill Andrew, a 1992 Windham High School
graduate, became a Windham Police Department 
officer in 1996. He credits his long career in
law enforcement to the many mentors who inspired
and encouraged him throughout his youth. Andrew
is retiring and his last day at the Windham Police
Department is Friday, Sept. 16.
By Lorraine Glowczak

After 29 years of serving and protecting the citizens of Windham, Captain William (Bill) Andrew will provide his final ‘end of shift’ signoff with the Windham Police Department (WPD) on Friday, Sept. 16, at 3 pm. Andrew, who is retiring from law enforcement to pursue a new career as a Project Manager for Tyler Technologies, says people in Windham haven’t seen the last of him as he will still be an active member in the community he loves and calls home.

“Windham is a wonderful place to live and work,” he said. “The community has strongly supported the police department and public safety. Although the larger society’s perception and support of law enforcement have become divided over the years, the Windham community has remained incredibly united in its support. I have always appreciated that.”

A 1992 Windham High School graduate, Andrew began his career in the public safety field while attending high school, participating in the Junior Firefighter Program. Upon graduation, he began working as a dispatcher for the WPD and worked in that position for three years. In 1996, he decided to become a police officer and attended the Maine State Justice (Police) Academy.

Upon becoming one of WPD’s finest, Andrew quickly moved up the ranks of law enforcement; first becoming a Sargent of Patrol in 2007, an Administrative Sergeant in 2015, a Patrol Captain in 2017, and, in his latest - and last role, a Support Services Captain in 2020.

Andrew said that he has enjoyed all his work at WPD and loves many aspects of his career. However, he shares one of his favorite experiences.

“By far, the best part of my career was starting up the canine unit at WPD,” he said. “I had the vision of creating a canine program while working in dispatch. Once I became an officer, the first thing I wanted to do is to implement that program and I worked hard to make it happen.” 

Andrew explained why he understood and then pursued the need for a canine program.

“As a dispatcher, I observed many individuals in crisis and how each emergency was handled,” he said. “In circumstances where we needed to calm people, we reached out to find a dog from other police departments to help subside the anxiety-filled situation. I witnessed over and over again that having a dog present often diffused the apprehension at the scene so the police could do their job effectively while also offering a positive, safe service to the individual.”

When Andrew developed the program, it was presented to Windham’s Town Council. The canine program was voted upon and approved in 2000. It is still an integral part of the WPD services today.

There are many reasons why having a canine unit is vital as part of a law enforcement agency.

“It breaks down any barriers that often occur while dealing with people in stressful situations,” he said. “Everyone has a story about their dog growing up or the pets they have now, and these stories create a commonality between the public and the police. It is a calming tool when people are dealing with tragedies.”

Andrew credits his long career in the ‘serve and protect’ occupation to the many mentors who have inspired and encouraged him throughout his youth.

“I have so many people to thank for their guidance and support as I explored a career in law enforcement,” Andrew said. “First, I must credit WPD’s former Chief Hammond. He was my first introduction to this career because I used to go on calls with him and former firefighter Ernie Nichols.”

Andrew said that while growing up in Windham, he had a childhood friend whose father, Greg Hanscom, was a WPD Police Chief. 

“Greg was the first police chief in 1976,” Andrew said. “His son and I spent a lot of time together while attending Field Allen School [the current Windham Middle School]. Getting a first-hand look at this man I admired, I knew I wanted to grow up to be like him.”

Captain Andrew’s contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed. He has worked in various capacities, including the role as a leadership team member with Be the Influence Coalition, an organization that raises awareness and addresses concerns caused by substance misuse in youth and educates about and prevents substance use disorder as one becomes an adult.

Laura Morris, the Director of Be the Influence, shares her praises of Andrew.“I cannot thank Bill Andrew enough for helping to create and make Be the Influence a reality, but also serving on our leadership committee,” Morris said. “Bill provided wisdom, passion, expertise and vision. He helped us to grow in the past six years to make a difference in the lives of our youth, parents and community. BTI will miss him and his guidance.”

WPD Chief Kevin Schofield echoed Morris’ sentiments.

“We most certainly appreciate all his work for the department and dedication to the town,” Chief Schofield said. “In over 36 years in this business, Bill has demonstrated the most dedication to this town and to the department that I’ve ever seen. We will miss him greatly, but we are happy that he will stay in the area and be a part of the department as a retiree moving forward.”

Morris shares the WPD and community’s thoughts about Captain Andrew as an individual.

“He is simply a wonderful person all the way around. We wish him the best as he goes about his new adventure.” <

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