Public safety

Johns Hopkins Police Department releases draft policies for community review

Community is encouraged to offer feedback over the 60–day public comment period

The Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) is seeking community feedback on the draft rules and regulations that will govern the JHPD's day-to-day operations. Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, and students, the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board, and anyone in the Baltimore and Maryland community can review and comment on the proposed policies during the 60-day public comment period.

Branville Bard Jr., vice president for Public Safety and JHPD chief of police, asks all community members to participate in the important policy development process, which included extensive benchmarking against the most progressive policies nationwide and consulting with outside experts in policing reform.

"Your continued feedback will directly inform the development of the JHPD and help ensure that we are building a community-oriented, transparent, and progressive police department."
Branville Bard Jr.
Vice President for Public Safety

"Your continued feedback will directly inform the development of the JHPD and help ensure that we are building a community-oriented, transparent, and progressive police department," Bard said. "I look forward to reviewing your ideas and suggestions, and always welcome the opportunity to engage with you."

In developing the draft policies, the JHPD drew on national guidance on best practices from criminal justice reform efforts, social science research centers, and civil rights organizations; publicly available policies from national and local higher education institutions in comparable environments; and publicly available policies from municipal law enforcement agencies that have undergone substantial reform efforts.

Taken together as JHPD's blueprint for the policy development process, the extensive benchmarking and consultation with experts model a commitment to implementing policies that community advocates and leading experts have advanced in law enforcement reform efforts across the nation.

During the 60-day public comment period, the public safety department will also host two virtual "Ask the Expert" forums to help community members understand the progressive policing reform taking place nationwide and the draft policies that are of the most interest to the public, including elements that delve into more technical aspects.

To ensure that the proposed policies captured national best practices in community-focused public safety services, the development team collaborated with independent experts from the National Policing Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing excellence in policing through research and innovation, and 21CP Solutions, an expert consulting team made up of former law enforcement personnel, academics, civil rights lawyers, and community leaders dedicated to advancing safe, fair, equitable, and inclusive public safety solutions.

Each policy was reviewed by experts selected by both organizations, who provided feedback, suggestions, and edits that were fully incorporated into the current draft.

To help guide community review, 21CP experts advised reviewing each policy through the following lens:

  • Is this policy consistent with the values and needs of the community?
  • Does this policy help JHPD safely carry out its stated mission?
  • Is this policy understandable? Are there any points that need clarification?
  • Is there anything that needs to be addressed in this policy not reflected in the draft?

Once the 60-day comment period ends, Johns Hopkins Public Safety will work on incorporating or otherwise reflecting in the final policies the recommended changes and feedback that are aligned with JHU values and commitments, permissible within legal parameters, and supported by community and officer safety best practices.

The JHPD followed a similar state-mandated public comment cadence when developing a Memorandum of Understanding between the campus police and the Baltimore Police Department. The public was able to review the MOU and attend three town halls during a 30-day public comment period. The MOU was finalized Dec. 2 and posted on the JHU Public Safety website alongside a report detailing the feedback received.

The Hopkins community and neighbors throughout Baltimore can help improve and strengthen these policies further through their feedback and input. The final policies will be published on the website, along with a report detailing community feedback.