The University of Iowa is restructuring its Department of Public Safety to better coordinate a wider range of safety services.
While still in the planning stage, the goal is to combine all campus safety services into a single organization—the Office of Campus Safety—to improve collaboration and communication across the institution and clarify what services the organization offers. The organization will be committed to all facets of campus safety.
This restructuring will improve the university’s ability to offer a range of safety services on campus, including law enforcement and non-law enforcement response options for mental health support, crisis intervention, and follow-up. It also prioritizes connecting people with campus and community resources such as the GuideLink Center, and resources offered by the Division of Student Life.
Reimagining Campus Safety
This realignment supports campus goals and initiatives around providing non-law enforcement response options to campus incidents, increasing communication and collaboration around campus safety issues, and centralizing reporting structures within the institution. To learn more, read the RCSAC spring 2023 update.
This realignment is the result of the important work and recommendations from the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee and the Student Complaint Response Committee. It also aligns with the UI Strategic Plan 2022-2027 goal to embed well-being and mental health into all aspects of campus culture to better support students, faculty, and staff.
“The health, safety, and overall well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are crucial to our success as a university,” says UI President Barbara Wilson. “I am confident this structure will enhance our safety and support services on campus through increased communication and collaboration.”
All existing public safety services—including police, security, emergency management, Clery Act compliance, dispatch, fire safety, and key and access services—will continue to be offered. However, the names of some units may be adjusted to better reflect their critical work to support campus safety. There will be no gap in services during the implementation process.
As part of the realignment, the Threat Assessment Team will join Campus Safety as its own distinct unit, and the organization will establish a threat awareness work group, called the Campus Threat Awareness Round Table, consisting of members from across campus who meet regularly to improve communication around high-risk situations. This will enhance the university’s ability to address and prevent threats on campus while providing an additional non-law enforcement response option for concerns that affect campus safety.
The realigned organization will be led by Mark Bullock, who currently serves as the assistant vice president and director of the UI Department of Public Safety. His title will become assistant vice president for campus safety.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our campus community, and we are committed to evolving to meet the needs of those who learn, work, and live here,” says Bullock. “Everyone experiences safety differently, and this change allows us to approach safety in a more comprehensive way that embeds mental health and well-being directly into our process.”
The realignment process will take place over the next 12 months. This work directly supports and coincides with the action steps from the Reimagining Campus Safety Implementation Team. Progress and updates on the two initiatives will be provided jointly moving forward.
“This shift will help create a safer campus community that is firmly rooted in the values of our institution and committed to ongoing improvement,” says Angie Reams, associate vice president and dean of students and co-chair of the Reimagining Campus Safety Implementation Team. “I am excited to see the positive impact this will have on our university and its future."
For the most recent update on the Reimagining Campus Safety Implementation Team’s work, see the spring 2023 update.