Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on December 2, 2022.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
I am pleased to share with you an update on the development of the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD).
Following several months of public review and comment, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) and Johns Hopkins University has been modified to reflect feedback from the community and is now final and publicly available.
Johns Hopkins’ extensive engagement process around the proposed MOU has been critical to this effort—including 60 days for public and City Council review and comment, three Hopkins-sponsored town halls, nearly 30 individual and small group meetings, a town hall hosted by two City Council members, and well over 250 comments and questions submitted by individuals from all across our community.
Along with the final MOU, we are also making publicly available a report from experts at 21CP Solutions, which summarizes the MOU engagement process and feedback received, and a JHU document that lists the 250 comments and questions we received. Most of the comments expressed opinions about the JHPD, pro and con, or asked questions about the MOU and/or future JHPD policies. We have updated the FAQ portion of the public safety website to respond to these issues and will continue to do so ahead. In addition, we have responded directly to all of the specific suggestions for the MOU, and, as you will see, nearly all of the MOU-specific feedback that we received has been adopted in the final document.
I want to thank our community of neighbors, students, faculty, and staff for taking the time to participate in this important process. Your feedback has been invaluable, helping to inform and directly shape the final MOU, and we will continue to turn to our community for your ideas and engagement as we build the future of public safety in the Hopkins community.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will be moving into the next phase of implementation, which will include developing department policies and procedures that align with the Community Safety and Strengthening Act and the MOU; recruiting and training officers in accordance with our local hiring goals and requirements; and establishing JHPD operations. Throughout this period, which we expect to take approximately 6-12 months, we will continue to seek feedback from the community, receive oversight and guidance from the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, and post updates on our public safety website.
The JHPD presents us with the opportunity and the obligation to build a small, model police department as one part of the Johns Hopkins’ holistic approach to public and community safety, which will continue to include our existing unarmed public safety team, support for members of our community experiencing behavioral health crises, and investments in community-driven programs for preventing violence and addressing the root causes of crime.
Through continued community dialogue and accountability, I am confident we can create a campus that is safer and at the same time welcoming to all.
Branville G. Bard Jr.
Vice President for Public Safety at Johns Hopkins