Andy Anderson, founder of cybercrimes unit, retires after 29 years

Friday, May 30, 2014 | 7:18 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After receiving a standing ovation at his retirement gathering Friday afternoon, Andy Anderson remembered one last thing.

"Wait, Sheriff, I forgot to give you this," the detective said as he handed his department cellphone over to Sheriff Dwayne Carey.

Family, friends and colleagues laughed at the exchange that signified Anderson's retirement from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, where he has been the coordinator of the Cyber Crimes Task Force since 2007. More than 70 people attended the reception at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Annex.

Anderson, 61, spent 29 years with the department and had a big impact on it becoming a more professional organization, Carey said.

"He came to me and had the idea of starting an Internet crimes unit," Carey said. "He spearheaded a lot of those investigations. He loved to help kids through investigations."

Anderson reflected on his career in brief remarks before a cake and punch reception.

"We have the type of career that most people watch on TV and fantasize about — 'Wouldn’t it be cool to be part of that?' — and we get to live it," he said.

Janie Bakutes, the child advocacy center administrative director of Rainbow House, expressed her gratitude for Anderson's work. She talked about how he helped build the Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center. The center facilitates forensic interviews for children who have been sexually abused or severely physically abused, according to its website.

At that time, Anderson was one of the interviewers. Bakutes recalled an interaction she observed between him and a 5- or 6-year-old boy. The boy’s attention was fixated on some nearby pencils, one of which had a John Deere tractor on it. During the interview, the boy asked if he could have one of the pencils for his grandmother, who collected John Deere memorabilia.

Bakutes said she was horrified when Anderson refused to give the boy the pencil, saying: "No, you may not. You need to look back here."

"When Andy came back from the interview room, I said, 'Andy, really? What would it have hurt by giving the child a pencil?'" Bakutes recalled.

He explained that giving the boy the pencil would be like offering him a reward for saying something. "Do you want to wreck the case?" he asked her.

That line was something Bakutes would carry with her in later cases.

Anderson's sister-in-law, Wanda Anderson, who used to work for the FBI, said his development of the cybercrimes unit was his greatest professional achievement.

"Just knowing him personally, I know how much he loves children and how he cares for children," she said. "He’s poured his whole self into that program, and it reflects tremendously. It’s been a very successful program."

Tracy Perkins, who has worked with the task force since 2007, will take over as the unit's coordinator.

Anderson’s wife, Nancy Fedorchak, said she was excited he would have more time for his family.

"He’s spent a lot of hours being gone with this job. It’s nice to be not on call anymore," she said.

They plan to spend the summer at Lake of the Ozarks, where they have a small house and a small boat.

"We are going to hang out, swim and read," Fedorchak said.

"I’m going fishing," Anderson said. He said his next big plan was starting on a tree house with his grandchildren next week.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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