University leaders announced today the launch of the application process for the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, a crucial element of the university's efforts to make the future Johns Hopkins Police Department a model of transparent, accountable, community-oriented policing.
In a message sent to students, faculty, staff, and community members Thursday, Daniel G. Ennis, senior vice president for finance and administration at JHU; and Robert Kasdin, senior vice president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine, wrote that convening the accountability board early in the process of developing the JHPD will help ensure that the university's values and commitments are deeply embedded in the department from the beginning.
"We are committed to enhancing our public safety operation in ways that ensure transparency and accountability to the community," Ennis and Kasdin wrote. "Forming the accountability board is one of many steps toward developing a community-driven, accountable, progressive university police department, and we look forward to working with you on each additional step in this process."
Community feedback and research into best practices among police departments support the idea of an accountability board, and university leadership recommended its establishment in its Interim Study on Approaches to Improving Public Safety on and around Johns Hopkins Campuses. The Maryland General Assembly adopted the idea in the legislation authorizing the creation of the Johns Hopkins Police Department.
In their email message, Ennis and Kasdin said that Hopkins' accountability board will be unique both in Maryland and throughout the country. It was designed to empower the Johns Hopkins community and its neighbors to help shape the development and operation of the JHPD. Members will be charged with sharing community concerns directly with department leadership, reviewing police department metrics, and assessing current and prospective department policies, procedures, and training in order to provide recommendations for improvement. The accountability board will also serve as a mechanism for transparency, ensuring that JHPD and university leadership follow the letter and spirit of the law to foster the success and effectiveness of the JHPD.
Full development and deployment of the JHPD is expected to be a multi-year process. The university is currently searching for a new vice president for security, and once that person is in place, it will begin discussions with the Baltimore Police Department on a memorandum of understanding, which will be subject to public feedback.
The accountability board will be composed of five community members unaffiliated with the university and 10 Johns Hopkins University students, faculty members, and staff—including at least one member of the Johns Hopkins Black Faculty and Staff Association—drawn from across the three campuses where the future JHPD will operate: East Baltimore, Homewood, and Peabody.
"The guidance, diverse perspectives, and thoughtful critiques of the accountability board members will be instrumental to the success of the Johns Hopkins Police Department," Ennis and Kasdin wrote. They encouraged applications from people with a passion for community-driven public safety and a commitment to the objectives and goals of the board, including the ultimate success and effectiveness of JHPD.
Additional information about eligibility requirements and application instructions are available on the Public Safety Initiatives website. The deadline to apply is Nov. 20.
A nominating committee of Baltimore City community members, students, faculty, and staff will review applications and develop a list of recommended nominees for consideration by university leadership, which will submit final recommendations to the Maryland State Senate for confirmation during the 2020 legislative session of the General Assembly. More information about the accountability board can be found on the Public Safety Initiatives website, which includes a form for your ideas and feedback.