Ten nominated to join Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board

The board will play a key role in helping to shape the development and operation of the future Hopkins police department

Ten Johns Hopkins students, faculty, staff, and community members have been nominated to fill current and anticipated vacancies on the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board. The board is responsible for sharing community feedback directly with JHPD leadership; reviewing police department metrics; and providing recommendations on current and prospective department policies, procedures, and training.

The university issued the call for applications in October to fill existing vacancies caused by student graduations and staff departures as well as the conclusion of terms next spring for several board members. An eight-member nominating committee led by non-voting chair Calvin L. Smith Jr.—president of the university's Black Faculty and Staff Association and director of Student Leadership and Involvement—reviewed and evaluated the applications. The committee made recommendations to university leadership, which made the final selections with names removed from the materials, so the process was blind.

The following nominees will be sent to the Maryland State Senate for confirmation during the 2022 legislative session of the General Assembly, which begins Jan. 11:

Community nominees:

  • Sonja Denise Merchant Jones, current member (Homewood)
  • Douglas "Duke" Tremitiere (Peabody)
  • Edward Kangethe, current member (East Baltimore)

Faculty nominees:

  • Elizabeth Hazel, Assistant Scientist, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Madhu Subramanian, Assistant Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine

Staff nominee:

  • Kimyatta Ricks, Office Supervisor, School of Medicine

Student nominees:

  • Ovais Khalil, PhD student, School of Nursing
  • Kamaria S. Hill, Masters student, Carey Business School
  • Ryan Alezz, Undergraduate student, Whiting School of Engineering
  • Samuel Crankshaw, Undergraduate student, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

The committee received 140 completed applications this year—the highest total for any accountability board application cycle to date. Of the 10 nominees, two are returning board members—Sonja Denise Merchant Jones and Edward Kangethe, who represent the Homewood and East Baltimore communities. Members of the nominating committee reviewed and scored the applications, then conferred as a group to make their final recommendations.

"I especially want to recognize and thank the nominating committee for their thoughtful review and evaluation of each application for the JH Accountability Board," said nominating committee chair, Calvin Smith. "Their work is all the more important as the university moves forward next year with building the JHPD—from developing policies to recruiting and hiring officers—and the accountability board will help ensure that the JHPD serves the community equitably and with transparency."

Created by the Community Safety and Strengthening Act in 2019, the 15-member accountability board is made up of three community members unaffiliated with the university and 10 JHU students, faculty members, and staff—including at least one member of the university's Black Faculty and Staff Association—drawn from across the three campuses where the future JHPD will operate: East Baltimore, Homewood, and Peabody. The remaining two seats are appointed by Baltimore's mayor and city council president.

Unique both in Maryland and throughout the country, the accountability board was among the recommendations in the Interim Study on Approaches to Improving Public Safety on and around Johns Hopkins campuses and is designed to empower the Johns Hopkins community and its neighbors to help shape the development and operation of the Johns Hopkins Police Department. Non-student members of the accountability board serve for two years, while student members serve for one year and must be enrolled for the duration of their term.

Branville Bard, Johns Hopkins' vice president for public safety, has called the accountability board an invaluable tool for the university in ensuring that the Hopkins community's values and input are considered for public safety more broadly, and from the beginning of the department's creation. He has committed to working closely with the board as the university moves into the next phase of implementation, which he expects will take approximately 6 to 12 months.

The current accountability board met seven times in 2022, including its annual public meeting Dec. 12. The December meeting was the first meeting since the university finalized a memorandum of understanding with the Baltimore Police Department, the latest step in the process of creating the JHPD.

More information about the accountability board can be found on the Public Safety website, which includes a form for ideas and feedback.

Posted in University News

Tagged public safety