Andrew Heisel makes it a point to treat every defendant who comes through the Milwaukee County Circuit Court with respect.
Heisel, a deputy sheriff for the county, serves as a bailiff for Branch 21 of the Circuit Court, where he encounters people from all walks of life.
His supervisor, Milwaukee County Sgt. Christine Baker, said that Heisel stands out because he knows that defendants are much more than simply criminals or addicts.
“They are actual people with goals, possibilities and potential,” Baker said. “He is professionally invested in every defendant that comes through court and there is something altruistic to be said for that.”
Heisel grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield and is the youngest of four boys. After graduating from Greenfield High School, he attended Milwaukee Area Technical College and earned an associates degree in business management.
He then studied police science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and was hired by the sheriff’s office in 1996.
He has served as the bailiff for Judge Cynthia Davis since 2019.
“Deputy Heisel does not just go through the motions while checking in defendants for court, but he establishes rapport with them by looking them in the eye and asking them how they are doing,” she said.
“He remembers their name and something about them for the next time they meet. Deputy Heisel visits defendants in the jail serving a sanction for treatment court to give them pep talks and words of encouragement.”
Heisel said he enjoys helping people and seeing them succeed.
“Most of the people that you deal with in the court system tend to be at a low point in their lives that are not easy to deal with, but you need find a balance between compliance and compassion,” he said. “If you can find that balance it makes the job much easier.”