Andrew M. Chelchowski was born on February 8, 1956, in Manhasset, New York. The son of a United Nations worker, Andy graduated from high school in Pakistan in 1974. He later attended Suffolk County Community College where he earned a degree in criminal justice. On June 8, 1977, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Officer Chelchowski worked as a Field Training Officer and in June of 1983, he became a member of the K-9 Unit. He also became a member of the Special Operations Team and as part of the tactical unit, responded to drug raids, hostage-takings and barricades.
On March 22, 1989, Officer Chelchowski and Corporal Charles W. Hill were partners on the Special Operations Team when they responded to a hostage situation in the 300 block of Hopkins Court. The hostage taker, Jamie M. Wise, had escaped from a halfway house in Washington, D.C., and was at the home in Alexandria to collect a drug debt.
Wise, 34, emerged from the residence with one hostage, holding a shotgun to the youth’s head. A police marksman fired and struck Wise. But before he was incapacitated, Wise, high on drugs, managed to fire twice. The first round killed Corporal Hill and the second struck Officer Chelchowski in the legs. Police opened fired again, and Wise was killed.
Officer Chelchowski endured months of recovery and rehabilitation. He returned to light-duty status later that year and assumed his full duties, with his K-9 partner, in 1991. He remained in that assignment until his death in Prince William County on the morning of July 29, 1993.
Officer Chelchowski, 37, was survived by his wife Sherry, a former Alexandria police officer, three step-children Patrick, Stephanie and Joshua, his father Michael, and his sisters Maia, Eva, Ania and Yvonne. He is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.