After 32 years with the Merriam Police Department, Michael Daniels is retiring as chief of police next month.
His last day is April 1. Captain Todd Allen will take over police chief duties in the interim, while the city looks for a replacement. After retirement from the police force, Daniels will serve as a public safety manager for the Mid-America Regional Council.
Daniels started as a patrol officer in 1987 before rising up the ranks to chief of police in 2014. Looking back over the years, he said he is proud of his department’s accomplishments.
“The younger I was, the more I thought that one person was responsible for things happening, but it really isn’t; it requires a whole team of people to get things done,” he said. “Good ideas can get squashed or fostered into much better ideas. That communication we have here, that family atmosphere that we have here that allows everybody to participate and talk and suggest things is really what we’re most proud of here in Merriam.”
Under his direction, the Merriam Police Department implemented a 10-hour shift system, which allows each of the 22 patrol officers on staff to have three days off each week and provides training opportunities each Wednesday while also ensuring that the department has enough resources to keep the Merriam community protected 24/7.
Daniels said he values the importance of the collaboration between northeast Johnson County law enforcement agencies, especially with implementation of the Johnson County mental health co-responder system. He oversaw the department’s remodeled facility last year and restarted the police bicycle unit. He also was committed to having officers attend every city event and connect with students at Merriam Park and Crestview elementary schools.
Having worked alongside Daniels as a fellow police officer, Merriam Mayor Ken Sissom said recommending Daniels as police chief was “an easy choice.”
“I got to see him grow from a raw recruit to a veteran police officer, detective, supervisor and, finally, chief,” the mayor said. “I’ve always been impressed with his high degree of enthusiasm, his dedication to professionalism, and his commitment and loyalty to the department.”
Daniels said his officers’ extensive training and quality of work will continue after his retirement.
“Every officer is a community policing officer; everybody’s responsible for building relationships with our community to move the department forward and help reduce crime,” he said, adding that his command staff is also “well suited” to move forward with finding his replacement.
“I’d like to thank the officers for all of their hard work; it’s their work that is the most important,” Daniels added. “They understand our community policing philosophy, and they do a very good job of representing the city of Merriam throughout the county and the state, and I’m very proud of their efforts.”