Meet Kyle Prewitt, Plainfield’s Chief of Police
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Amy Payne
It’s not always easy trying to figure out your path in life. When Kyle Prewitt first went to college, his plan was to become an attorney. He earned a degree in criminology, appreciating the fact that his major didn’t require a lot of math courses. He was, however, obligated to complete an internship in corrections and law enforcement. To fulfill the corrections side, he worked at a residential detention facility for male juveniles. When it came time to secure a placement for the law enforcement requirement, he saw an ad declaring that Clinton, Indiana, was in need of reserve officers.
“I called to ask what that was, and learned that you needed to be trained as a police officer but that you didn’t get paid – that seemed like a great idea, right?” says Prewitt with a chuckle. As he went through the training, he started to look forward to going. He liked that he could potentially bring some stability to perhaps the worst day of someone’s life.
“I realized, ‘I’ve got a talent here. Maybe I could make this a living,’” Prewitt says.
He graduated in May of 2003, married his college sweetheart, Amy, in October of 2003, and began working as a reserve officer. In February of 2004 he was deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2006 he joined the Plainfield Police Department (PPD).
At first, living in Plainfield was an adjustment after being raised in a small, southern Indiana town. While Plainfield isn’t big-city living, things were more fast-paced than he was used to. He did, however, appreciate the wonderful school system, all of the resources in the area and the close proximity to Indianapolis.
“As a kid, going to a Colts game was an all-day event,” he says. “Here, it’s an afternoon. I’ve come to love living here. It feels like home.”
While at the PPD, Prewitt has served as a sergeant, lieutenant and deputy chief of operations. In June of 2022 Prewitt was named chief of police after serving as interim police chief since April. When he joined the PPD, he never aspired to become the chief of police, as he was happy in a patrol capacity. He enjoyed the variety of service calls and the fact that every day was different. As police chief, he’s trying to find ways to get community members more involved at the department. The department has held citizen academies for the town and will plan more in the future. He also wants to see the department get more involved in educating civilians on how to protect themselves, both physically and from online scammers.
Prewitt loves taking care of his community, and community members appreciate his level of care. He has had domestic violence survivors tell him that, thanks to his compassion and the resources he provided, they were able to escape a dangerous situation. He’s also had grateful folks tell him they got clean after their arrest. Just recently he was approached by a woman in a grocery store who tearfully shared that he was the reason her son got off of drugs. Following an overdose, he’s now flourishing.
“I don’t take those moments for granted,” Prewitt says. “It’s good to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
This career is suited for Prewitt, as he’s able to maintain a calm, cool head in the face of chaos. “I tend to flourish in chaotic situations,” he says. “My wife gives me a hard time because I can make all these hard decisions at work, but then come home and can’t decide what to have for dinner.”
This fall Prewitt was confronted by his two biggest fears – losing an officer and losing a child. Officer Seara Burton was taken off of life support in Richmond after she was shot during a traffic stop. Around that time, a 4-year-old autistic child went missing in Plainfield. Sadly, her body was found in a retention pond.
“Those are hard things to deal with,” Prewitt says. He’s pleased, however, with the way the department has made progress in this area.
“When I first started [in law enforcement], you would go to a particularly nasty traffic accident or suicide – things that were difficult to see – and the method for getting beyond that was to take the next call,” Prewitt says. “If you talked about it at all, it was with the next officer during a shift change, over a cup of coffee.”
The department now takes a more proactive approach, with a wellness manager who works with public safety officers, creating a network of counselors with whom officers can talk.
“It not only lets everyone know that it’s OK to not be OK, but it also helps navigate back to normal,” Prewitt says.
Time and again, he’s been impressed by the citizens of Plainfield. For instance, when the child went missing this fall, community members showed up to search the area.
“Any time we’re dealing with something major, the community shows up in ways we would have never expected,” Prewitt says. This is why he likes being involved in community activities. He and his wife have three children, Kaylee, 18, Brody, 14, and Lyla, 9. In his free time, Prewitt enjoys coaching youth sports. This past year he served as the varsity baseball associate head coach at Plainfield High School.
Heading into a new year, Prewitt hopes to provide more training opportunities for his officers. In recent months, more than one Indiana police officer has been fatally shot. Therefore, he wants to find ways to better protect officers, perhaps by acquiring additional equipment or protective items, or maybe taking a different approach to handling certain calls for service.
“There are two phrases that drive me crazy,” he says. “One is, ‘That’s not my job.’ The other is, ‘That’s how we’ve always done it.’ I task all of our folks with coming up with a better way.”
The PPD, like many employers, is in a perpetual state of recruiting. Prewitt would like to get his uniformed officers out and about in town more frequently, at farmers markets and other events.
“We want to be approachable as we’re out in the community,” he says. “I tell our officers that everybody who works here is a walking billboard for the police department. How we conduct ourselves reflects on what we support and what we stand for as an agency. I ask them to strive for excellence in everything they do.”
Joe Aldridge, deputy chief of police with the PPD, notes that while this might indicate that no mistakes can be made, it’s actually quite the contrary.
“Officers are human,” he says. “We all make mistakes. However, even though perfection is not attainable, in pursuit of it, excellence can be found.”