Kim Daniels wanted to retire from the Westfield Police Dept., but she didn’t want to retire from working full time. When Westfield Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan learned of Daniels wishes, she thought an investigative position with the township would be a perfect fit.
“I got wind Kim was retiring but not really wanting to retire and I said, ‘Really?’ At that time, we were looking for an investigator and interviewing for a full-time investigator position, and so I met with her to talk about the position and to see if she was interested,” Carey Tolan said. “After talking, it was a natural fit, but my biggest worry was she had a retirement date way past the time I needed to fill the position.”
After further examination, Carey Tolan thought the position required two people to manage the workload, so she hired Kristen Yutzy as the sole investigator until Daniels came on part-time in November 2019. Daniels started her full-time position Jan. 1.
“The investigating is a little different from what I’m used to,” Daniels said. “When we have clients looking for assistance, they have a certain application and certain paperwork required to be reviewed. So, the investigator is responsible for the application and making sure all the paperwork gets in and then trying to verify a lot of the paperwork.
“Then, once you get through all that, the decision comes down to what they need (such as housing, utilities, food).”
Carey Tolan said people in need often ask directly for what they need help with, such as utility payment or food, and the investigator’s job is to ensure the people truly need those items.
Daniels spent the previous 12 years as a Westfield Police Dept. school resource officer for Westfield Washington Schools. Prior to her SRO work, she was a patrol officer at three different departments.
Daniels said her new positiona isn’t much different from police work.
“At the core of everything, I went into police work because I wanted that service-oriented type of a career, and I just switched out of one service-oriented career into a second,” she said. “I’m still assisting the public, just in a slightly different way. I went from working with the Westfield Police Dept. and Westfield Washington Schools where I had a good job with great people, and I have the same thing here.
“They’re the same level of caring and dedication. It was a good transition for me into a career I think I’m really going to like.”
Recently, the township acquired a home in Noblesville near 146th Street and Allisonville Road from the Hamilton County Commissioners. It plans to use the home as temporary housing for clients.
“We went into an agreement with the county commissioners, and they have four houses that they were going to condemn,” Carey Tolan said. “Instead of condemning, I asked them if we could utilize those houses for clients.”
In total, the township can utilize four houses, two neighboring houses north of 146th Street and two neighboring houses south of 146th Street. The other three house should come online by the end of the month.
“People still will apply,” Carey Tolan said. “Sometimes, people are in transition from jobs or they’re in transition of getting evicted and not able to afford the current place. We are hoping this will afford them the ability to (save enough money) for a down payment and first month’s rent.”
The houses will cost $100 per week and only one family or individual may occupy them at a time. Restrictions include no pets, only running vehicles and no visitors unless approved by the township.
“We want to see these people succeed,” Carey Tolan said.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 closing organizations and businesses across the nation, Westfield Washington Township Investigator Kim Daniels expects a lot of her work in the coming weeks will involve home visits and home deliveries.
“Whatever the reason, we do home visits and collect what we need there. Instead of trying to come up with a way to get them in the office, we just go to them,” Daniels said. “We are getting ready to do a lot of remote work because of this new situation, and we will be doing a lot of things over the phone and with email. We will be utilizing computers and drop-off boxes, different things to limit the contact.”
Westfield Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan expects the virus will raise the number of people in need.
“I think in the next couple weeks we will see an influx of applications,” she said.