University leaders are seeking applicants to join the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, whose members can help shape the development and operation of the Johns Hopkins Police Department. The board will play a pivotal role in the coming year in advising the university as it develops the policies and procedures needed for the anticipated launch of the JHPD in 2023.
The board, made up of faculty, students, staff, and Baltimore residents, has 11 current or pending vacancies that need to be filled, and university officials stressed the importance of filling those seats with engaged members with diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
"I view the accountability board members as key partners as we develop policy and practices for the JHPD; their feedback and suggestions pertaining to the MOU are a vital part in that ongoing process," said Branville Bard, vice president for public safety for Johns Hopkins. "I will continue to look to our new board members to play a vital role offering honest advice and valuable input and feedback in the creation of our policies, and truly in every step of the development and realization of the JHPD."
The deadline to apply is Nov. 7; applications can be completed online.
The 15-member accountability board was started in 2019 as part of the Community Safety and Strengthening Act, the state law authorizing the JHPD.
By statute, board members are charged with sharing community feedback directly with JHPD leadership; reviewing JHPD metrics involving crime; and assessing current and prospective department policies, procedures, and training in order to provide recommendations for improvement.
The board is composed of five community members not affiliated with JHU and 10 students, faculty members, and staff. JHU representatives are drawn from across the three campuses where the JHPD will operate—East Baltimore, Homewood, and Peabody—and include at least one member from the Johns Hopkins Black Faculty and Staff Association. Baltimore community members also represent these three areas, where JHPD may patrol.
The Baltimore mayor will fill one vacancy on the board; the others, selected through a formal application process, will consist of three Baltimore City community members not affiliated directly with Johns Hopkins, two JHU faculty members, one staff member, and four students.
Applications submitted by the Nov. 7 deadline will be reviewed by a nominating committee of Baltimore City community members, students, faculty, and staff, who will develop a list of recommended nominees for consideration by university leadership. University leaders will announce the new nominees in December. In 2023, they will send the list of nominees to the Maryland State Senate for consideration and confirmation during the legislative session.
The membership of the board reflects Johns Hopkins' dedication to empowering diverse people, ideas, and experiences. Accountability board members will be expected to share a respect for diversity and a commitment to working across differences to ensure the JHPD is successful and effective and lives up to its promise to be the most progressive, accountable university police department in the nation.
"The members of the nominating committee are committed to the ideals of diverse identities and perspectives when choosing candidates to nominate, and we are hoping to identify people to serve on this board that have different views on how to best hold the JHPD accountable," said Calvin Smith, chair of the nominating committee and senior director of Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development at Johns Hopkins. "I believe dialogue, openness with differing viewpoints, challenging conventional practices, and appropriate oversight through the accountability board will push Johns Hopkins to adhere to its commitment to establishing a world-class agency."
The board meets at least quarterly and holds at least one public meeting each year to seek input on JHPD policies, procedures, and training from community members of Baltimore City, with meeting minutes posted on a website available to the public.
Non-student members must have significant ties to the Baltimore City community through residency and be willing to serve for two years (fall 2023-spring 2025). Student members must be willing to serve for one year (fall 2023-spring 2024) and must be enrolled at one of JHU's East Baltimore, Peabody, or Homewood campuses during the duration of their term.
More information on the accountability board—including agendas, minutes, recordings of past meetings, and a list of current members—can be found on the Johns Hopkins Public Safety website.