Arlington Heights police mourn 'good guy who left us too soon'
Police in Arlington Heights and across the Northwest suburbs are mourning the sudden loss of a recently retired law enforcement leader who's being remembered as "one of the good guys who left us too soon."
Andrew Whowell, who retired in 2017 as Arlington Heights' deputy police chief, died Sunday at home. He was 62.
An Arlington Heights resident, Whowell spent 30 years with the village's police force after brief tenures with the Park Ridge and Bartlett departments. His career included service as a patrol officer, detective, sergeant and patrol commander, before his 2013 promotion to deputy chief.
Longtime colleague Nicholas Pecora, now the department's chief, said that while Whowell had a businesslike exterior, deep down he was a compassionate and humble person. One of his favorite sayings around the department was "Who needs a hug?"
"If you had a bad day or were involved in a tough case or just dealt with someone who experienced a tragedy, he was the first one who would be there to reassure you that you were going to get through it," Pecora said.
Though he excelled as a detective, Whowell's favorite assignment may have been serving as a D.A.R.E. officer, helping to lead the department's efforts to prevent alcohol and drug abuse by students, Pecora said.
"He enjoyed reaching out to young people, letting them know that they don't have to be afraid of the police and we're here to help keep them and this community safe," Pecora said.
Described as a person of great faith, Whowell helped create the department's chaplain program, and was an original member of its Honor Guard. During his career, he was elected by fellow officers to serve as president of the local Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Pension Fund.
After retirement, Whowell volunteered as a handler for Lutheran Church Charities comfort dog program, which takes comfort dogs to interact with people who are suffering and in need.
Whowell is survived by his wife, Ingrid; his children, Matthew, Amanda (fiance Jared Love) and Melissa; his brothers, Jonathan (Wendi) and Joseph (Jacqueline); many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Riley.
A visitation is set for 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday before an 11 a.m. funeral service, both at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 111 W. Olive St., Arlington Heights.
Memorial contributions may be given to St. Peter Lutheran Church & School, 111 W. Olive St., Arlington Heights, IL, 60004, or LCC K9 Comfort Dogs, 3020 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook, IL 60062.