After a couple of years sitting behind a desk and being the voice answering 911 calls, a Seymour police dispatcher soon will be the one responding to those calls as a police officer.
Josh Daniel was sworn into duty by Mayor Craig Luedeman on Jan. 11 during the Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. He spent his first day on the job Monday.
He will leave for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield on Feb. 19 and spend four months receiving advanced training in a variety of areas, including criminal and traffic law, firearms, accident investigation, domestic violence, crime prevention and drugs and narcotics.
With Daniels, the department stands at 41 officers, Chief Bill Abbott said. That number will drop to 40 when retired officer Ernie Davidson goes off the payroll later this month.
Although he’s originally from Bloomington, Daniel, 30, has lived in Seymour for several years and considers it home, he said.
Before becoming a dispatcher with the Seymour Police Department, he worked as a security guard at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant and has experience as a reserve officer for the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.
“I like it here,” he said of Seymour. “There are normal people here, and I like that it’s a working-class town.”
And he doesn’t mind the trains that roll through town, either, he said. That is unless he gets stopped by one.
After graduating from high school in Bloomington in 2005, Daniel went on to attend Vincennes University, where he studied law enforcement. He also has taken online classes through Southern New Hampshire University.
He decided to take a job with dispatch to hopefully work himself up in the department, he said.
“I didn’t vocalize that I wanted to be an officer, but I did,” he said. “The other officers would encourage me to apply, so I thought I may as well give it a try.”
But Daniel said he was worried that at 30, he would be too old.
“I didn’t know what the age limits were, but I went out and did the physical agility test, and now, I’m here,” he said.
He always has known he wanted to be a police officer, he said.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little boy,” he said. “I can’t explain why exactly. I just remember seeing sheriff’s deputies out and the state police at the fair, and I would look up at them and just know that’s what I want to do.”
Getting to wear the uniform and badge is a part of the appeal, he said.
“I’m still a kid at heart,” he said. “When you see the campaign hat or the cruiser, you know they are there to protect you. It’s a noble profession, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, to be honest.”
But he knows it won’t be easy.
“I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “I’m glad I’m here. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, though.”
Daniel said it’s easy for him to talk to people, which will be an asset on the job.
“I know how to interact with people and how to get things done,” he said.
He also said he feels a strong sense of loyalty to the department and the community.
“I’m not going to jump ship in two or three years,” he said. “I think this is a great place to work.”
So far in his first week, Daniel has done firearms training and a shooting simulation program, defensive tactics and rode along with other officers. Next week, he’s scheduled to learn emergency vehicle operations and then will be paired with another officer full time until he leaves for the police academy.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “I don’t even feel like I’m working. It’s awesome.”
He’s looking forward to being able to do what he can to help people during bad or dangerous situations.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t be afraid, but if something serious is going down, I’d like to be a part of it and be there,” he said.
Daniel said he doesn’t have any aspirations to specialize in any certain area of law enforcement, such as DARE or being a K-9 handler.
“I just want to be out there in the action, out on the road,” he said. “I’m just so happy that this town has chosen me to serve. It’s a deep honor, especially for someone who’s not from here, to be chosen to be one of the few people who protect this place from predators. I don’t take that lightly, and when it comes down to it, I will do what I have to do to protect the people here.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Josh Daniel ” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Josh Daniel
Hometown: Lives in Seymour but was raised in Bloomington
Occupation: Newest officer with the Seymour Police Department
Family: Wife, Alison; and son, Reese, 6