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Johns Hopkins University Statement on New Public Safety Initiative

March 5, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Susan Ridge, Vice President for Communications
Office: 443-997-8554 / Cell: 202-222-8554
sridge1@jhu.edu

Johns Hopkins fully supports legislation, introduced in the General Assembly by Del. Curtis Anderson and Sen. Joan Carter Conway, that would give the university and other independent higher education institutions in Baltimore City the authority to enter into memoranda of understanding with the Baltimore Police Department to create university police departments.

Our strong partnership with city and state leaders has been and will continue to be critical as we work to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, patients, and guests. We appreciate the leadership from Sen. Conway and Del. Anderson on this legislative effort, which has the full backing of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa.

We are constantly evaluating ways to improve public safety on and around our university and medical campuses and to align our public safety efforts with the city’s crime-fighting strategies. One idea we evaluated as part of ongoing discussions with city and state leaders, including the mayor and police commissioner, is the creation of a Johns Hopkins University police department specifically tailored to a university environment.

A university police department would not replace our current public safety and security operations. Instead, it would supplement the public safety efforts of our current security personnel, as well as the BPD, on and around our university and medical campuses in Baltimore.

Most major academic institutions and the vast majority of public universities – including those with academic medical centers – in Baltimore and across the nation already have university police departments as a part of their security operations. These university police departments serve as strong and visible deterrents to street crime and help universities respond more quickly and effectively to serious threats. Including a police department as part of highly focused, well-trained, multi-layered security operations has proven effective at urban peer institutions and we believe it would have the same benefit for Johns Hopkins and our city.

The introduction of this bill is just the first step in what would be a comprehensive process. If the bill passes and is signed into law, we would work closely with the BPD to establish a detailed agreement on the size, scope, training, capabilities, and jurisdiction of the proposed university police department.  We would also seek input and guidance from the Johns Hopkins community and our neighbors, as well as own faculty experts and peer universities – particularly those with academic medical centers – to adopt best practices and standards of excellence.

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Office of Communications
Johns Hopkins University
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