Maria Sanchez Named Second UI Department of Public Safety Community Outreach Officer

As a Hispanic woman, Sanchez is uniquely positioned to advocate for marginalized communities and help the department reach more people, she said. She will join Officer Alton Poole in community outreach, who welcomes help from a second spirit.

Constable Maria Sanchez has been named the second Community Outreach Officer for the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety.

According to a public security department user interface Q&A with Sanchezshe joined the service in 2018 as a patrol officer and began her new role this fall.

Sanchez is from West Liberty, Iowa, and graduated from UI with a degree in Spanish and a minor in human relations.

She said she decided to return to UI because she wanted to challenge herself by working in both law enforcement and higher education.

“I know that if I had gone to another agency, I never would have had the opportunity to go beyond what law enforcement is,” Sanchez said in an interview with The Iowan Daily.

In the Q&A, Sanchez said the community outreach workers providing safety training, crime prevention information, and campus building safety investigations to “bridge the gap between our department and other departments on campus and develop relationships with students, faculty, and the staff” as well as “to make students aware that we exist, and that we approach our role differently.

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Sanchez said she was uniquely suited for the role because she is a Spanish speaker, which she said she can use to welcome more people and advocate for marginalized communities.

“That, more than anything, is why I’m interested in serving in this office under Agent Poole,” Sanchez said. “When you just love doing things, it’s not a job.”

Constable Alton Poole is the second community outreach officer for the UI Department of Public Safety and described Sanchez’s work as tenacious and compassionate.

“She was just a natural person, engaging the general public, and she was very enthusiastic when it came time to do charity for marginalized communities and the homeless,” Poole said. “It’s nice to see officers taking initiative and going above and beyond their patrol duties, and she did just that.”

Poole said appointing Sanchez to the position will also help the department reflect the diversity of the community it serves. According to Office of the Registrar of Unemployment Insurance19.5% of those registered for unemployment insurance identified themselves as a minority this fall.

Poole said it was disheartening to tell people he was unavailable, but with Sanchez they can “spread [their] wings and reach more people.

“It’s always good when you have more than one mind coming up with ideas,” Poole said. “It actually expands our ability to reach out and communicate when we have more than one person.”

Mark Bullock, assistant vice president and director of the User Interface Public Safety Department, wrote in an email to DI that it has become apparent with how many groups in the UI community they need to connect, and the ability of a single person cannot achieve their goals.

“[Sanchez] has been doing this work in her patrol role for four years, and we are excited for what she will bring to this position with a full-time focus on community outreach, relationship building and crime prevention,” Bullock wrote.

Bullock wrote that adding Sanchez will help the community as a whole.

“We are proud of what we have done so far and excited to expand the community outreach team so that students, faculty and staff can have increased access to our safety services and resources,” said writes Bullock.