Following the Dream
"Many people ask why are you willing to give up so much to attempt to become Hancock County Sheriff. Well, that’s actually a fantastic question. First off, let me explain what is meant by giving up things to try to become Sheriff. You see, I’m currently Chief Probation Officer in Hancock County. I’m actually in my 35th year in this position. This means I’m a Hancock County Employee. So, why is that any different than any other law enforcement officer or County Employee? You see, Probation is managed by the Judicial Branch of Government. My immediate supervisors are the 3 Judges of Hancock County. That being said, as Probation Officer, I fall under the same Judicial Code of Conduct as the Judges of the State. Therefore, I am unable to participate in Politics as a Judicial Employee. I understand that the Primary is actually not the final election to becoming Sheriff, however the only way to even attempt to win the Primary Election is to leave the Probation Department. Therefore, if I want to even attempt to fulfill my lifelong career dream, I must retire as a Probation Officer. At this point, I’m looking to retire from Probation in September 2017. At that point, I would be able to announce that I plan to run for Hancock County Sheriff on the Republican Party and attempt to win the Primary Election held on May 8, 2018.
So, when did this dream begin? I must say, it all started back when I was just a kid. I have used the joke for many years that my family came to this great country by crossing the waters of the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana. Both of my parents were from Western Kentucky, Muhlenberg County. About the only jobs in that part of the country was the coal mines. My dad attempted to work as a coal miner. He lasted ½ day. He said the only reason he lasted that long was because the mine foreman that took all the men down into the mine would not bring him back out until lunch time. When he got out at lunch time, he knew another career had to be explored. He and my mother decided to try their luck and moved to Indiana. Dad first got a job at International Harvester, and then was one of the first employees to work at the Indianapolis Ford Motor Company plant starting in 1957. At that time they lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. In early 1959, they came to Greenfield and visited a used furniture store owned by Robert Sebastian Sr. This store was located on Franklin Street. Mom was pregnant with little ole’ me and they were looking for a rocking chair. As the story goes, they went into the store and when they came out, Mr. Sebastian had set them up with a whole apartment full of furniture as he said you are not going to live in Indianapolis. That baby is going to be born in Greenfield. Mr. Sebastian’s son, Robert E. Sebastian was a Deputy Sheriff in Hancock County. He and my father became best of friends, just like his wife Doris and my mother became good friends. They became so close that when I was born, they were Uncle Bob and Aunt Doris. The Sebastian’s and Addison’s did all kinds of things together. Camping, running a Pizza Shop, going to auctions, playing cards, vacations, you name it. Uncle Bob was a Deputy Sheriff and dad worked at Fords. Well, 1966 was a big year in the future of Wayne Addison. You see, I was seven years old and my dad and Uncle Bob both did things that year that have impacted me ever since. My dad, W.B. Addison went to Auction School and became a licensed Auctioneer. He actually went to auction school with another man who would also impact my life, Malcolm E. Grass. We’ll get to more about Malcolm later in this little story. So, at six years of age, I began hanging with dad and working in the auction business. Anyone who knows me saw Kyle and Katey go through the same thing because they both have been going to auctions since they were born. Now little Brynlee is doing the same thing. She’s definitely got the task of holding a microphone down to a science. In 1979 I got my auction license and the rest is history. So what else happened in 1966? Well, Uncle Bob was elected Sheriff of Hancock County. Back at that time, the Sheriff and his family lived at the jail. The living quarters were in the front and the jail was in the back. I still have fond memories of the Old Jail, which is currently the current office of the Hancock County Prosecutor’s office. You walk in and there is that huge staircase going to the second floor. I slid down that staircase so many times in my lifetime. Being a kid, it was pretty cool to go to Uncle Bob’s. Just imagine; I was the same age as Opie Taylor was during the time his daddy was Sheriff. Yes, I saw many a man and even women come into the jail with a Snoot Full. Truly, that is why I made a conscious decision that I would never drink. I saw so many people who played the real life role of a drunk. Some were happy go lucky, some were crying all the time and yes, some were downright mean. I decided way back then that nothing was going to control me. Besides, I thought the Sheriff should be the one to show an example to those drunks that you don’t have to get liquored up to have a good time. Many times we were visiting Uncle Bob and Aunt Doris when something happened. Back then, the Sheriff had very few deputies, so when a call came in; he had to head out and handle things on his own. I loved it when Dad would go with him because many times, I could go too. My job was to sit in the middle of the front seat and take notes. I don’t think seat belts were invented back then, but I made it. Uncle Bob would always give me a notebook and pen and tell me to write down whatever the dispatcher was telling us. Little did I know he was just going to go as fast as he could, hit every bump or go over every hill full blast so his note taker would fly up in the air and lose his pen and notebook. Even writing this little story I can just see him laughing and saying “What’s wrong Butch”? I sure did love that man. Naturally, I decided I’m going to be the Sheriff of Hancock County just like Uncle Bob. I loved his entire term in office. I became so disappointed when in his last year in office; he decided to resign from being the Sheriff to take another job. Now, here comes the Malcolm Grass connection. Like I said, my dad and Malcolm attended Auctioneer School together. Malcolm was a deputy Marshall in Shirley, Indiana. When a deputy position came open, dad mentioned it to him and Uncle Bob hired him. When Uncle Bob resigned, Malcolm was appointed Sheriff. So, I’m back in the Sheriff business. Malcolm then ran for the office himself in 1974 and won. I still remember being in the living quarters of the jail on the night of the election. His democratic opponent was Carroll Mohr, a great Indiana State Trooper. When Malcolm won, someone brought in a cartoon with a guy attempting to cut the grass. “Mohr Couldn’t Cut Grass” was the caption. I was so proud that Malcolm won. During my High School days, Malcolm was Sheriff and also worked with my dad in the Auction business. Malcolm didn’t live at the jail, but he knew I loved to be around the place. He let me ride with him many times. When I graduated from High School I thought, the best thing I can do to become Sheriff is go to Ball State and get a degree in Criminal Justice and Corrections. I thought it would be amazing to become the first Sheriff with a college degree. Actually, I probably should have thought about it while I was in High School because when I tried to get into Ball State, the school was hesitant on accepting me as a student. I still remember the Orientation program that I went to. They called several students into a special meeting. We were told that odds are there is no way any of us will be able to actually graduate from College, but they were going to allow us to enroll in Ball State in what was called their “Academic Opportunity” program. We were required to take special English, math and science classes. I still remember the lady saying, the odds of any of you graduating is so remote, but we feel it is important to give you this opportunity. At that very moment I thought, you know, I hate that lady. Who is she to say I’m not good enough to graduate. Doesn’t she know I plan to become Sheriff and I need this Criminal Justice Degree? I’ll just show her. Wow, that’s when I learned that we should never hate anyone. I showed that lady, I graduated from Ball State with a major in Criminal Justice and Corrections and also a major in Telecommunications. I also obtained a minor in Business with a focus on Real Estate. Truthfully, the lady who gave me that Academic Opportunity did me the best favor of my life. All she did was make me realize that the student looking at me in the mirror could do whatever he wanted to. During the time I was attending Ball State, whenever a class called for observing the courts or law enforcement, I contacted Malcolm and he would set me up with the people I needed to talk to. When I turned 21, I applied and was accepted to be a Reserve Deputy for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. March 1981, I met some more men who would become major influences in my life. Among them were Fred Counter, Ed Moore, Otto True, Jim Buchanan, Glenn Price, Mike Splater, Everett Kyser, Jim McClammer, Steve Johnson, Dave Watkins, Jim Roberts, Dan Davis and Lowell Thomas. Many more came along over the next 25 years or so being a Reserve. I was put on the Reserve the same night as Tom Fettinger. I was given unit number 62. 62 is still my favorite numbers. I was so proud of myself. Here I am a senior in College and I am on my way to fulfilling that dream of becoming the Sheriff of Hancock County. In May 1981, I graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Back in that time, law enforcement was much different than it is now. My present from Malcolm was a Red Light that I could put in my personal car. That’s right, back when I first got on the Reserve; we were allowed to have portable red lights and police radios in our personal cars. Times have changed, but it was sure fun.
When I was a junior in College, my mom and dad bought Goff’s Roller Rink. I started my DJ career back in those days. When I graduated from Ball State, I went to Butler University and took a Real Estate Broker Class and actually got my Real Estate License. So, I’m a college graduate running a roller rink, working as a licensed auctioneer and licensed Real Estate Broker and a Member of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Division. I talked to Malcolm about becoming a Deputy, but he always said, boy you don’t want to do this. You need to go to law school and become a lawyer. I always told him, no I want to be the Sheriff one day. In 1982, Nick Gulling was elected Sheriff and Malcolm became Chief Deputy. I had a talk to Nick and told him that the next time a Deputy Job came open; I would like to be considered. It was actually a short time later that Nick called me and asked if I would be interested in becoming a Juvenile Officer. He said that he was talking to Judge Payne and Judge Gottschalk and they were telling him that the Indiana Judicial Center had changed the requirements to become a Probation Officer in Indiana. They were looking for a person with a college degree who might be interested in the job. Even though I graduated from Ball State with a Criminal Justice Degree, I knew very little about Probation. I asked Nick what all do they do and he said that the Probation Officer is in charge of dealing with juveniles. Just so you know, a juvenile is anyone under the age of 18. So at the age of 23, I agreed to go have a talk with Judge Payne. Judge Payne started telling me about the change of procedure for becoming a Probation Officer in Indiana. The new requirements called for a Probation Officer to hold a bachelor’s degree. The officer had to attend and pass the new Orientation Program and pass a state examination to become a certified probation officer. He asked me to tell him something about myself. I told him my family was in the auction business and ran a roller rink. I told him I was trying to sell Real Estate, but this was in 1982 and the Interest rates were 18%, so not much Real Estate was being sold. I then saved for last to tell him that I was a Reserve Deputy with the Sheriff’s Department. Judge Payne was very nice. He said, I looked like the person they wanted for the job. His only problem was that I was a Reserve Deputy. He was afraid that might become a conflict and thought it would be best if I resign from that position. I quickly thanked him for the opportunity and job offer, but I planned to become Sheriff one day, so I wasn’t willing to give up being a Reserve Deputy. I shook his hand and left thinking I would just wait till a Deputy Job came open. About two hours later, Judge Payne gave me a call. He said that he was really impressed with my interview and wanted to offer me the Probation Officer position one more time. I immediately asked, “Do I have to give up the Reserves”? He laughed and said I thought you would ask that and I have decided that for now, we will let you stay on the Reserve and as long as it doesn’t become a conflict, I could stay. SO, in December 1982, I was hired to be a Probation Officer in Hancock County. I got to spend about two weeks with the guy I was replacing, Joe Case, a very nice man who had decided to take a job with the Indiana Department of Corrections. The office was very small; Linda Mayer was Chief Probation Officer I was Probation Officer and Jim Andrews the famous director of the Boys & Girls Club was working as a Part-Time Probation Officer. The glue that kept the office together was Fran DeJarnette, the Department Secretary. I soon met with Judge Payne, Judge Gottschalk and Judge Hill. Judge Hill was kind of put in charge of making sure I followed the new requirements of the Indiana Judicial Center. I went to the New Probation Officer Orientation Program. One of the first Probation Officers to work toward Indiana Judicial Center Certification. After the Orientation, I took and passed the certification examination therefore becoming the first Probation Officer in Indiana to become certified by the State under the new guidelines. In June 1983, Chief Mayer resigned her position. Judge Gottschalk called me into his office and said they were having a hard time getting someone to take the job for the salary they had to offer, but there was no way they could find someone to take the job for the salary they were paying me. I actually didn’t know better, so I told him if I’m not good enough to be considered to be the Chief Probation Officer, then just hire two new ones and I’ll go my separate way. Apparently he liked the confidence because on July 1, 1983; I was appointed Chief Probation Officer of Hancock County. I soon found that they were not kidding when it came to the Probation Department being the Juvenile Officers. I was immediately being called by Police Officers wanting to know what they were to do with various juveniles. Since I was first officer certified, the Judges stated they trusted me to run the division. I began working with Juveniles and adults, but the opportunity to help turn around a juvenile was the selling point to stay in the position. I would have kids and their parents reporting to my office and I got to make the decision on what would happen in their case. It’s amazing how good you feel when you see a person who has violated the law or who is addicted to various substances come in with no respect. When they successfully complete probation, it’s a wonderful feeling. I felt like I was in a position where I could make a difference in the lives of various people. Within a couple years, Sheriff Gulling even made me an offer to become Deputy Sheriff. I was proud of being a Reserve Deputy and by that time I had worked my way up and was voted as the Reserve Division Captain. At the time I didn’t think that was such a big deal, but when I look back on it now and realize I was in my mid-20’s and was in charge of the Sheriff Reserve even though all those other gentlemen who were inspirations in my life were still on the Division. I felt I could make a big difference being a Probation Officer, so I just decided to stay. I thought maybe if Malcolm becomes Sheriff again, I could go work for him. Well, on May 8, 1986, the entire Hancock County Sheriff’s Department was changed forever. On that day, one of my hero’s Malcolm Grass was shot and killed by a criminal suspect. I certainly remember his name, but I will not mention it in this story. So many things changed on that day, but my desire to become Sheriff was only strengthened. So, in January 1990 at the age of 30, I filed to run for Hancock County Sheriff in the Republican Primary against Jim Bradbury, Tommy Harrison and Jack Heiden. The election was to be held on May 8, 1990. I was a young man who had a desire to be Sheriff and thought the only way to get the job was to run. Needless to say, I didn’t win. I finished second in the four man race, but only the winner moves on to the General Election. I also remember the news I received on May 1, 1990. I was called into the office with all three Judges. They told me that it appeared I was doing very well in the Sheriff Campaign and felt like I had a good chance to win. Trouble was, if I win the Primary I would have to give up my job as a Probation Officer. Apparently I was the first Probation Officer under the new Judicial Certification program to seek political office. I was told that someone made a formal complaint that a judicial Officer was seeking Public Office. The Judges were told that I had to be let go. They came to an agreement that the election was just one week away and they would go ahead and let me remain a Probation Officer until May 8, but if I won, I would be out of a job on May 9. Needless to say, May 9 came and I was able to remain a Probation Officer. The only problem was, as long as I remained a Probation Officer, I could never try to become Sheriff again. On May 8, 1990, Kyle was not even a year old. I knew my responsibility was to fulfill my obligation of being a father and decided I would try to become the best Probation Officer I could. Maybe, just maybe when I retire from Probation, I could try again. Well, let’s fast forward 27 years. I now have been a Probation Officer for 35 years, all but 6 months as Chief Probation Officer. We went from a staff of 3 ½ employees to a present staff of 23 employees. I am currently 57 years of age. A couple years ago when I turned 55, I became fully vested into the Public Employees Retirement Fund. I had actually given up on the thought of becoming Sheriff. I thought I had a very successful career as a Probation Officer and also as an Auctioneer, but maybe it just was not meant for me to become Sheriff. Problem is when I turned 55, I got to thinking that in 2018, the citizens of Hancock County will pick their next Sheriff. Current Sheriff Mike Shepherd will not be able to run again, so I got to thinking that someone new will be the Sheriff. The burning desire started to ignite again and I kept thinking if there is going to be a new Sheriff, “why not me”? So I started to use some of the advice I’ve given to Probationers over the past 35 years.
Will that guy that looks at you in the mirror be able to forgive himself if you don’t try to fulfill that lifelong dream that started way back in 1966?
Really, that’s the only question I asked myself. That one seemed to do it. Truly in April 2016, I was cleaning out a storage building when I came across a big pile of Addison for Sheriff Posters left over from 1990. That fire seemed to start burning again. I wondered if people would think I was crazy, so I started just teasing with the idea of maybe it’s not too late. I started talking to various people I know and was surprised and happy with the positive comments I was getting. Actually the only negative ones I was getting were from people saying they would vote for me, but hated to think I would leave Probation. In August 2016, I decided to hint a little more to see what a larger audience would say, so I put a picture of those antique signs on Facebook and stated I was thinking about bringing them out of retirement. I was worried about getting negative comments, but thought I would have to give up a lot to even try, so felt it was necessary. The positive comments began to flow. Then I started getting messages, e-mails and phone calls from people asking if I was truly serious. I told them I would love to try again, but would have to give up my job. I then began a “humorous” campaign about having a secret of something I might do. It started as a joke, but quickly grew and grew. I started getting more and more people coming to speak to me offering to help if I decide to run. I began thinking that maybe January 2018 should be the time I retire from Probation and try one last time to fulfill my dream of becoming Sheriff of Hancock County. I discovered that what I thought was a humorous way to get my name out I was considering a run had turned into what so many people feel was a Public Announcement. I had the honor of writing articles for the Daily Reporter for a couple years. At first I wasn’t sure I could do it. Remember, I was that guy that got into Ball State on the Academic Opportunity Program. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but I felt after working with people for 30+ years that I had some things I could say. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by all the positive comments I began to get. So many people would tell me they loved my articles. I began teasing that my “Fan club” was ladies 80 years and older. It seemed so many told me they were sending them to their kids and grandkids. I began to look forward to writing those articles every month. Then in March 2017, I received a call from the Reporter. They said that they have never made a person quit writing articles until they officially declare to seek Public Office, but everyone knew I was running for Sheriff, so in fairness I would not be able to submit any more. It actually hurt my feelings because I truly enjoyed writing them so much. I soon began to realize that the Reporter was probably right. What I thought was a little secret had grown into a huge amount of people realizing I was going to do it. A couple days after I was told I could no longer write the articles, two other candidates declared their candidacy and the Reporter did a story about them. They called me and said they wanted to report I was going to run too, however I told them that the ethical thing to do was decline to comment until I am a retired Probation Officer. I’m still using the secret method at this time. You might see signs with “Another Addison Announcement – January 2018”. I will have a float in the 4-H Fair Parade; but it will be for Another Addison Auction. Oh there might be hints of a Sheriff race, but it won’t be official. I do plan to retire from Probation. I do plan to seek the Republican Nomination for Hancock County Sheriff. I feel it is truly now or never for me. If anyone tells you that this was a fly by night decision; hopefully this little story will assure you that becoming Sheriff is a dream that started way back in 1966 when Bob Sebastian became Sheriff of Hancock County. One of my favorite songs of Elvis Presley is “Follow that Dream”. I realize it may not come true, but I know it definitely won’t come true if I don’t try."