State's sheriffs to capture a piece of old Madison
Saturday, January 31, 2009 4:00 AM
Madison will be swarming with cops from all over Indiana during the first full weekend of February.
Sheriff Bill Andrews, the 2009 president of the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, will open the old jail for tours during the group’s
winter conference, Feb. 6-8.
The high level of police presence will not be a law enforcement operation, but instead, over 300 Indiana county sheriffs, family members and staff will be in Madison on Feb. 6 through 8 for the Indiana Sheriffs' Association Winter Conference.
The conference, at Clifty Falls State Park, will be the first conference where Jefferson County Sheriff Bill Andrews will serve as the association's president. Andrews took the office Jan. 1.
About two-thirds of Indiana's 92 sheriffs are expected at the conference, as well as Lucas Oil founder and CEO Forrest Lucas.
The conference has been held in Nashville for the last six years, but Andrews and his wife, Debbie, proposed Madison as a site for this year's winter conference in a presentation that focused on Madison's historical appeal and the opportunity for the sheriffs to tour the historic Jefferson County Jail, constructed in 1849.
"A lot of the sheriffs want to see this old jail and then after, they will have time to get something to eat and go shopping downtown," said Debbie Andrews, who has done most of the work organizing the event.
"Every business I've contacted has overwhelmingly helped Debbie and I with this conference," Andrews said.
The sheriffs will tour the jail Saturday, Feb. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dave Taylor, author of "Murder in the House of God," will be on hand to answer questions about the jail. Taylor's book tells the non-fictional tale of the 1878 hanging of convicted murderer John W. Beavers on the Jefferson County Jail lawn. Beavers' execution is the only judicial hanging in Jefferson County history.
The tour will not be open to the public, but Andrews does plan to open the jail to the public during the Madison Bicentennial Celebration 200-Hour Party in June.
"This is going to be one of the largest conferences we've ever had," Andrews said. "We are going to try and do a good enough job to make them want to come back."
Training sessions on legislative issues, budget issues, the governor's consolidation plan and other issues that affect the office of a county sheriff will be conducted at the conference.
The association is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on education, training and information sharing among all Indiana sheriffs, Andrews said. The association also serves as the county sheriffs' voice in legislative matters.