Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels and Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Paul Rothman announced today in a message to faculty, staff, and students that previously announced legislation to establish a university police department requires further consideration and conversation, and that it will not be acted on in this year's Maryland legislative session.
The full text of their message is below:
Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff:
Earlier this month we wrote to tell you of our strong support for state legislation that would authorize Johns Hopkins to work with the City of Baltimore to establish a university police department—one that is specifically trained to meet the unique needs of a university environment and capable of meaningfully strengthening the safety and security of our campuses.
We and the state legislature have decided that legislation to establish a university police department at Johns Hopkins requires further consideration and should be moved to an interim study rather than acted upon this year. We believe this decision will help inform our response to rising crime and other security threats and allow us to continue important conversations about building a sworn police force that models the best in constitutional, community-based policing.
Over the last month, we have been moved by the depth and intensity of interest in this topic at Hopkins and in the community, and we sincerely welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation. The personal experiences, strongly held beliefs, and expert opinions we have heard significantly influenced our thinking on how best to move forward. And the resounding call for early and deep engagement, especially with our students and surrounding communities, will drive our approach in the months to come. The creation of a sworn police force is a serious decision and entails significant public responsibility, and it is important that our communities have the opportunity to gain the necessary confidence in this endeavor.
In the meantime, be assured that safety remains a leading priority for our institution, and the legislature's decision has not dampened our urgent focus on augmenting our security coverage, including drawing on local and state law enforcement capabilities where appropriate. We also will continue our work as an anchor institution in Baltimore to address the underlying causes and effects of urban crime through research, funding, and service to the neighbors and neighborhoods of our home city.
We hope you will stay engaged with this issue during the legislative study period and beyond. Information about the proposed university police department, as well as a schedule of related campus and community events and an active online comment box, will remain available on our campus security website. We believe that this is an area where Johns Hopkins has the opportunity to lead, and we look forward to continuing these conversations with you.
Ronald J. Daniels
President, Johns Hopkins University
Paul B. Rothman, M.D.
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine