Mark Bullock appointed as University of Iowa’s director of public safety

Mark Bullock has been promoted from interim co-director of the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety to director. Bullock’s first day was Jan. 3.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Director of Public Safety Mark Bullock poses for a photo on Jan 13, 2022. Mark Bullock has received the promotion after serving as a co-interim director for the Department of Public Safety.

Meg Doster, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Department of Public Safety’s new director, Mark Bullock, hopes to deepen the community’s trust in the UI’s campus policing.

Bullock’s first day was Jan. 3. He fills the role of Scott Beckner, who retired on Dec. 31, 2020. Bullock previously worked as the interim co-director along with Chief Lucy Wiederholt from December 2020 until his appointment.

“We really need to make sure that when people come to our campus, they feel that they can contribute and be educated, and conduct research and work here and not have to worry about violence,” Bullock said

Angie Reams, UI associate vice president and dean of students, chaired the search team tasked with finding Beckner’s replacement. Reams said her position as dean of students gives her a lot of opportunities to interact with the Department of Public Safety.

Reams said Bullock is relational, collaborative, and goes above and beyond his role.

“Mark is used to an atmosphere of accountability and making tough decisions,” she said. “And he understands the importance of prioritizing and effective communication and achieving his goals and outcomes, whether that’s at the department level or at the institutional level, or think about our role as a state public institution.”

Reams and Bullock met in 2017 through their leadership roles in the university’s Threat Assessment Program, the primary objective of which is to provide assistance to individuals while ensuring community safety, according to the Threat Assessment Program website.

Marco Oceguera, academic affairs committee co-chair for the UI’s Undergraduate Student Government, served as the undergraduate representative for the search team.

“[Bullock] just gave me a very good vibe of truly wanting to help out the University of Iowa community and kind of strengthen the relationship between police forces and everything and students in the community,” he said.

Based on Bullock’s preference for giving light punishments for drug offenses, Oceguera said he believes Bullock would rather help students than get them in trouble.

Bullock was part of the Reimagining Campus Safety Committee and the team that implemented the changes the committee decided on, including UI’s new care coordinators.

The Reimagining Campus Safety Committee was responsible for listening to community feedback about how campus police had previously been run, and then implementing those changes. Much of the feedback centered around mental health resources and de-escalating situations to prevent violence.

Bullock said his experience working on the Reimagining Campus Safety Committee was “invaluable.”

“I’ve not had an opportunity in my career to get that much feedback in such a short amount of time,” Bullock said. “And having been part of that process, a really deep understanding of what those charges and what those challenges mean to people.”

Oceguera said he has a “strong gut feeling” about Bullock and has a lot of confidence in the things Bullock can do for the community.

Reams said that because of Bullock’s work ethic and his prior experience, she was “not surprised” when he was selected by the search team for the position.

“[Bullock] and Lucy Wiederholt did an amazing job co-directing, especially given the impact of COVID and just the transition that they had for former leadership,” Reams said. “I really think Mark will do well in this role.”

Bullock said that he plans to bring his experience working in the city and with various committees to change campus for the better.

“It’s about managing the culture of public safety on campus, giving our officers and our staff the tools and the culture to be able to go out and make change,” Bullock said.

Editor’s note: Marco Oceguera is a former Daily Iowan staff member.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, The Daily Iowan reported Former Director Scott Beckner retired on Dec. 31, 2021. The DI regrets this error. 

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