Branville Bard Jr.

Image caption: Branville Bard Jr.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University


New vice president for public safety seeks community feedback, accountability board applicants

Branville Bard embarks on a listening tour among the Hopkins community and its neighbors, including a reconvened Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board

Branville Bard wants to hear from you.

In his first month, Johns Hopkins' new vice president for public safety has already begun a community listening tour that will continue through the fall. He is seeking input from a variety of stakeholders, including Hopkins' neighbors, students, staff, and faculty, as well as public safety-oriented groups such as the Student Public Safety Advisory Committee and the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, to gather feedback that will inform the institution's comprehensive vision for public safety.

"During my introductory meetings with people throughout the institution, I have been energized by the universal conviction that Johns Hopkins Public Safety should make everyone—everyone—feel safe," Bard wrote in his first message to the Hopkins community Oct. 13. "I look forward to the opportunity to hear from many, many more members of this community as I seek to understand the best ways to make that vision a reality."

As part of his effort to meet and engage with members of the Johns Hopkins community, Bard plans to reconvene the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, a group of community members from JHU and the neighborhoods surrounding its Baltimore campuses, and to invite applications to fill several current and anticipated vacancies on the board. Bard says he will look to the accountability board as a pathbreaking vehicle for those with different perspectives to advise him—even as Hopkins respects the two-year pause in the development of the JHPD.

"I intend to do a great deal of listening and learning over the coming months as we work together to develop a model public safety strategy for our institution."
Branville Bard
Vice president for public safety

Listening to the community at large is central to Bard's mission.

"I have gotten to meet enough of you to already have an appreciation for how much I still have to learn about this extraordinary community, and I intend to do a great deal of listening and learning over the coming months as we work together to develop a model public safety strategy for our institution," Bard wrote.

The university is issuing an open call for applications and will repeat the process by which the board was initially filled two years ago: A nomination committee, composed of Baltimore City residents, students, faculty, and staff, will be tasked with evaluating applications and developing the pool of candidates from which university leadership will make selections to fill vacant seats. Those nominees are then subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

"This independent review of all applicants is vitally important to seating new members on the accountability board," said Calvin L. Smith Jr., president the University Black Faculty and Staff Association and chair of the accountability board nominating committee. "It's essential that our stakeholders, from Hopkins affiliates to local residents, feel confident in the reconvened board, and that starts with transparency of this process."

At full capacity, the accountability board includes 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. To apply, visit the Public Safety Initiatives website to learn more about the Accountability Board. The application deadline is Nov. 14.