Richard (Dick) Allen Bull, retired Police Chief and longtime public servant, passed away at his residence in Modesto due to medical complications on April 6, 2021, at the age of 65.
Richard is survived by his wife, Kim Ferris Bull; his children, Angela Bull, Jessica Bull, Diana Olson, and Wesley Bull; his stepchildren Whitney Mize and Morgan Stoeckmann; his sister, Susan Taylor; and six grandchildren.
Richard was born on November 9, 1955, in La Grange, IL, to Warren and Helen Bull. Due to his father’s role as an executive with the Campbell’s Soup Company, Richard spent his childhood moving around North America, with residences in California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Canada. An avid outdoorsman, Richard developed a love for hunting, fishing,
and boating along the various lakes and riverways of his youth. Richard also enjoyed sports, and he participated in football and basketball programs through his elementary and high school years.
At the age of 16, Richard’s family relocated to California’s Central Valley, where he attended Davis High School in Modesto. He loved to drive, and could frequently be found cruising McHenry in his beloved ’69 Ford Mustang, a car he would own several iterations of throughout his adult life. Richard also had an affinity for Jeep Wranglers, and was known to wind them through the mountains of Del Puerto Canyon with his young family in tow. A frequent visitor to Yosemite and other National Parks, Richard would go fishing and camping with his children whenever he could.
Second only to the great pride and care he took in being a father, Richard was devoted to his career in law enforcement. In 1977, he started on his path
when he was hired as an Officer with Patterson Police Department. After only two years on the job, Richard was ambushed outside his station by a
lone gunman, resulting in five gunshot wounds to his arm and torso. He survived due largely in part to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto and their
newly launched Mediflight program, and was initially told by physicians that he would never work in law enforcement again. Richard was determined to
return to the field, however, and pushed through grueling recovery efforts and physical therapy until he could once again don his uniform.
Richard went on to work for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, both as a Deputy and a Deputy Coroner, in Patterson. He quickly promoted
through the ranks, ultimately becoming Police Chief of Patterson PD in 1985. When he saw the chance to move up to the rural ranchlands of California’s
North Valley, he quickly seized the opportunity and was hired as Police Chief of Red Bluff Police Department in 1990. It was there he met his wife, Kim,
whom he married in 1995.
In Red Bluff, Richard lived the cowboy lifestyle of which he had always dreamed. He lived on a 30 acre ranch, raised several head of cattle, and coached his children through sports, horseback riding, and agricultural programs in 4-H, all while leading his officers and administration into a new era of policing. Richard was the first chief to outfit officers’ patrol vehicles with computers and upgraded communications systems, and was an advocate for his
dispatchers, as well. Richard fostered a sense of family amongst the members of his department, but was firm in carrying out the motto that sat plainly on
his desk: “What’s right is not always popular; what’s popular is not always right.”
Richard’s leadership in Red Bluff was so lauded that at one point, during periods of vacancy, he was asked by the city to additionally serve as the City
Manager and the Fire Chief. Always a leader, and never one to back down from a challenge, he accepted.
In 2000, Richard decided to move closer to his family in Modesto, and was hired as Police Chief of Ripon Police Department. There, Richard again
focused his sights on providing his officers the resources they needed to serve their community effectively and safely. Richard created a take-home police
car program to discourage burglary and casing, completely upgraded his dispatch center with audio and visual feeds through community centers and
schools, outfitted officers with the most up-to-date technology and gear, and even secured a parachute-powered aviation unit to assist with lost rafters in
the Stanislaus River. As a result of his efforts and progress, he received the Joe Molloy Award from the California Police Chief’s Association in 2009.
After 34 years as a law enforcement officer, advocate, and chief, Richard retired from Ripon PD in 2010. That same year, he pinned the badge on his
eldest daughter as she was sworn in as an officer with San Diego Police Department.
Retirement was not the end for Richard, and he quickly hired on with the Department of Justice as an outreach consultant with their Rural and Tribal
Resources Unit. There, Richard traveled around the country assisting small departments with funding and upgrades to help bring them up to speed with
national policing standards. On his off days, he continued to hunt, fish, and practice his marksmanship with his many companions in California and
Richard Bull was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son, a humble public servant, an exemplary leader, and a caring friend. He touched the lives of many and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
A Celebration of Life and Honor Guard Ceremony is scheduled for 12 pm on May 26 at Spring Creek Country Club, 1580 Spring Creek Drive, Ripon, CA 95366. All are invited to attend and pay their respects. In lieu of flowers,
please make a donation to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation or a charity of your choice.