JHPD Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: September 21, 2023

Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD)

Why did Johns Hopkins seek to establish a university police department?

Johns Hopkins sought the legislative authorization to build a police department in order to improve our ability to respond to our community’s growing public safety needs. 

We believe that every member of the Hopkins community, including our neighbors, deserves to feel safe. Just as we cannot accept the persistent levels of violent crime that leave a legacy of trauma and prevent communities from thriving, we cannot accept anything less than the highest standards of constitutional, equitable, and accountable law enforcement.

Through evidence-based, community-driven, and innovative approaches to public safety, the JHPD will be a small part of our broader 1,000-person public safety organization. The JHPD is limited by state law to no more than 100 personnel. It will replace the use of off-duty Baltimore police officers on our campuses and help to reduce the strain on the city’s resources while also advancing and modeling equitable and reform-oriented public safety strategies.

What is the status of the JHPD? (New!)

The JHPD, as authorized by the Community Safety and Strengthening Act, has completed the required MOU with BPD. Dr. Branville Bard has been appointed the inaugural JHPD Police Chief and is overseeing the creation of policies, acquisition of equipment, and recruiting of personnel for the JHPD. We are still in the early stages of JHPD recruitment, which includes a comprehensive application and interview process led by subject matter experts, campus/community stakeholders, and public safety leadership. Once those are selected, they will enroll in officer training during the summer and fall of 2024 and begin patrolling in a limited capacity after completion of training.

What has Johns Hopkins Public Safety leadership done to engage with the community on issues related to public safety? 

Since arriving at Johns Hopkins in August 2021, Dr. Branville Bard, Vice President for Public Safety, has made community engagement one of his top priorities. During his first month at Hopkins, he launched a communitywide listening tour and committed to meeting with Hopkins’ neighbors, students, staff, and faculty, as well as public safety-oriented groups. In all, over the course of his first year at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Bard participated in over 150 small group and individual meetings with members of the Johns Hopkins community.  A condensed list of these meetings can be found here.  

Dr. Bard continues to meet and engage with members of the community to share updates on the JHPD.  If you have questions or would like to meet with Dr. Bard, please contact Johns Hopkins Public Safety at publicsafetyfeedback@jhu.edu

Will JHPD officers be armed?

JHPD officers will be trained and certified to carry firearms in the course of their duties, just like other university police departments in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland. Currently, Johns Hopkins hires armed, off-duty Baltimore City Police Officers and deputy sheriffs to provide this safety service; once up and running, the JHPD will instead rely on its own, university-employed and trained officers. The JHPD is prohibited from acquiring military-grade vehicles or military-grade hardware that is not otherwise available to the public for commercial sale in the State of Maryland.

Importantly, the JHPD policy manual will include a policy on use of force, which will be developed in consultation with the JH Accountability Board and posted publicly on the Department’s website. That policy will 1) emphasize the sanctity of all human life, 2) authorize the use of only that level of force that is objectively reasonable to bring the incident under control, and 3) expressly define the limited circumstances under which lethal force would be authorized. JHPD officers will be trained in de-escalation and crisis mitigation techniques to reduce the need for use of force, and also have access to several less-than-lethal weapons to increase the options available to officers when responding to situations that may require the use of force.

How will you ensure officers do not use force unnecessarily?

JHPD policies emphasize de-escalation and valuing the sanctity of human life above all else. De-escalation will be a core part of the JHPD philosophy. JHPD members will be trained in the Integration of Communication, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) De-Escalation Program. ICAT is the only known police de-escalation training to have shown significant changes in police behavior in an independent research evaluation of the training in Louisville Metro PD. “ICAT is a training program that provides first responding police officers with the tools, skills, and options they need to defuse a range of critical incidents successfully and safely. Developed by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) with input from hundreds of police professionals from across the United States, ICAT takes the essential building blocks of critical thinking, crisis intervention, communications, and tactics, and puts them together in an integrated approach to training.” Policies and Procedures | Faculty Affairs | Johns Hopkins University (jhu.edu)

If I have a complaint about an Officer, what do I do?

If you have concerns about the conduct of a JHPD member, please let us know via email (JHPDcomplaints@jh.edu), phone 410-516-4600 or on the Public Safety website.

Johns Hopkins is committed to building and supporting a Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) that is transparent, accountable and responsive to our community. In the event of a complaint of officer misconduct, JHPD will follow a clear path of investigation, fact-finding and, where warranted, discipline in accordance with the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. JHPD will not be covered by state law enforcement immunity protections.


Is there research that supports the decision to establish a university police department?

Yes. Johns Hopkins committed to a vigorous research program that included a review of available academic literature about public safety and university policing, peer benchmarking, and identification of best practices. We reviewed closely the scholarship on a wide range of relevant topics, from the root causes of violent crime and the impact of policing approaches on minority communities to research about the ways that police departments, if realized ethically and responsibly, can meaningfully serve as a public good.

To better understand prevailing approaches to public safety in academic settings, we surveyed the security models at over 50 peer universities, with a particular focus on urban peers. This survey included all 21 of Johns Hopkins’ peers in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas, both public and private. We also examined the practices of select municipal and county police departments—both in Maryland and nationally—that have strong reputations for fair and impartial policing and/or recent, innovative approaches to police reform.

Our examination of peers and the relevant academic literature yielded many valuable insights into how public safety organizations are structured, what values should guide our public safety approaches, and which practices work best at reducing violent crime and advancing procedural justice. These findings are described in detail in the Interim Study Report, particularly on pages 19–26.

Has Johns Hopkins explored giving officers less lethal weapons instead of guns?

Yes, we have explored arming JHPD officers with less lethal weapons as an alternative to firearms and will include less lethal weapons in the training and equipment for the JHPD. Given the severity and prevalence of gun violence in our community and our current longstanding reliance on armed off-duty BPD officers and sheriffs deputies, we have determined that there is a need for a small armed university police department that is able to respond and intervene when there is an incident of violent crime and it is immediately necessary to protect a person in our community from an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury. As a result, we made the decision to shift away from armed off-duty BPD officers where possible and toward specially-trained university police officers who are directly accountable to us. These JHPD officers will be provided with firearms and less lethal weapons and will complete extensive and frequent training in both. 

JHPD officers will also receive Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) use of force and de-escalation training. We know that research suggests substituting guns for less lethal weapons can lead to less proactive de-escalation tactics in municipal police departments, and we will focus significant resources and attention on training our university officers to safely resolve critical incidents, reducing the need for force, and promoting the sanctity of all human life.

After the adoption of a final MOU with BPD, Johns Hopkins will begin the process of developing JHPD policies and practices, in compliance with the Baltimore City federal Consent Decree and in consultation with the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board). This will include policies around use of force, firearms, and less lethal weapons, and those policies will be posted publicly.

Has Johns Hopkins explored having unarmed officers?

Johns Hopkins currently has approximately 1000 unarmed public safety professionals who work to keep our campuses, health care facilities, and surrounding neighborhoods safe, as well as armed, off-duty Baltimore City police officers and sheriffs deputies, and we have conducted extensive studies and field visits of peer universities locally and across the country to explore best practices and alternatives to campus policing. In addition, in 2018, at the request of the Maryland General Assembly, Johns Hopkins led a multi-pronged “Interim Study” that included community engagement and further research regarding approaches to improving public safety on and around JHU campuses. Throughout these efforts, we considered several options, including maintaining our existing unarmed public safety operation as-is and/or seeking to expand the role and presence of BPD. 

We ultimately found that if we continue with our current approach, we would continue to be hindered in deterring, addressing, and intervening in the level of violent crime that is affecting staff, faculty, students, and neighbors. We also found that a highly trained university-based police department is considered a best practice for public safety at colleges and universities, rather than relying on city police officers, and is an important support for public safety city-wide, by reducing the burden on a local municipal police department.

For more information, please see the 160-page Interim Study Report, which was published in December 2018 and presented to the Maryland General Assembly.  

How does the JHPD compare to our peers?  Does it incorporate best practices in twenty-first century policing?

In 2022, Venable, a world-renowned law firm, compared the legislative requirements that the JHPD is subject to (the authorizing statute, the Community Safety and Strengthening Act, as well as recent Maryland police reform legislation governing all state police departments) with state laws nationwide and legislation/policies of other university police departments. The in-depth review included an analysis of state legislation governing law enforcement officers in all fifty states and thirty-one campus law enforcement agencies, as well as an evaluation of the policies of those thirty-one campus police departments. 

Upon conclusion of their review, Venable wrote: “it is clear that the Johns Hopkins Police Department (“JHPD”) stands out as a new model for publicly accountable, transparent, and community-oriented police departments in the country…Johns Hopkins has taken initiative and utilized the best practices gleaned from peer institutions’ legislation and policies. That framework positions the JHPD as the most progressive campus police department, and among the most progressive police departments in the country.”

You can read the memo here.

Non-Policing and Root Cause Initiatives

Does Johns Hopkins invest in initiatives to address the root causes of crime?

Johns Hopkins is committed to a holistic approach to public safety that embraces and invests in root cause prevention, innovative responses to behavioral health crises, community partnerships, highly professional traditional campus security, and a small, progressive, publicly accountable police department. This approach aims to leverage our resources and expertise to support community-driven, innovative, public health strategies aimed at reducing and preventing violent crime, including: 

  • Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST). JHU developed and launched the BHCST in the fall of 2021. This highly innovative co-responder program pairs licensed behavioral health clinicians with trained unarmed public safety personnel to provide immediate expert assistance to Johns Hopkins students, faculty, staff, and neighbors experiencing a behavioral health crisis. 
  • JHU Innovation Fund for Community Safety (Innovation Fund). In 2020, JHU created the Innovation Fund, a four-year, $6 million investment in community-led programs to reduce violent crime in Baltimore by addressing its root causes. We are funding nine community partners to support their development and implementation of solutions to public safety in our city.
  • Safe Streets Baltimore. Through the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, JHU is partnering with Safe Streets Baltimore, an evidence-based, public health program to reduce gun violence among youth ages 14 to 24. 
  • Roca Baltimore. JHU provided $2 million to help bring Roca, a nationally-recognized youth anti-violence and intervention program, to Baltimore. 
  • Focused Deterrence. JHU has provided early financial support for focused deterrence as a part of Baltimore City’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy, an evidence-based model for crime reduction.
  • Greater Baltimore Region Integrated Crisis System (GBRICS). Johns Hopkins is a founding member and lead sponsor of the Greater Baltimore Region Integrated Crisis System (GBRICS), a $45 million, multi-hospital, regional collaboration to expand community-based behavioral health crisis services in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard, and Carroll Counties.
  • Break the Cycle Hospital Violence Intervention Program. Johns Hopkins administers the Break the Cycle Hospital Violence Intervention Program using public health strategies, such as trauma-informed training and case management, to quickly connect survivors of violence with the needed support to reduce the risk of future violent injury or death. A centerpiece of the program is the utilization of culturally competent responders and staff who may have experienced violence themselves and live in the community in which they work.

In addition, for more than a decade, Johns Hopkins has developed partnerships and initiatives that collectively work to bolster education, health care, and economic opportunity in Baltimore City, each of which helps to address the root causes of violent crime, including:

  • Support for Baltimore City Public Schools. Johns Hopkins has invested over $26 million in resources and programming for Baltimore’s K-12 schools, including partnerships for STEM and arts education, capital construction, an innovative program that gives eye exams and glasses to students, and much more. For example –
    • Henderson Hopkins K-8 School. Since 2009, Johns Hopkins has invested approximately $20M to build and operate the first new K-8 public school constructed in East Baltimore in more than 20 years. That school, Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School, offers a STEAM-focused education for K-8 students, emphasizing small class sizes in one of the premier education facilities in all of Baltimore. 
    • Vision for Baltimore. John Hopkins is a founder and lead partner of Vision for Baltimore, providing Baltimore City public school students with over 75,000 screenings, 10,000 eye exams, and 10,000 pairs of eyeglasses.
    • P-TECH Dunbar. Johns Hopkins is a leading funder and partner at Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) at Dunbar High School, from which students graduate after six years with a high school diploma and associate’s degree in the health sciences.
    • Barclay-Hopkins STEM Partnership. JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering provides both in-school and out-of-school STEM programming to students at Barclay Elementary Middle School, with a particular focus on engineering and computer science and a state-of-the-art STEM learning lab. 
    • Margaret Brent Community Partnerships. A partnership between the Johns Hopkins School of Education and Margaret Brent Elementary School provides innovative, arts-integrated teaching and learning that supports creative problem-solving, and active learning. 
    • Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School. A JHU grant of $100K provided funding and support for updated technology for classroom instruction and student testing at Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School, which serves 400 students just east of JHH on the boundary between CARE and McElderry Park neighborhoods.
    • Summer Jobs. JHU has been the largest provider of summer jobs to Baltimore City youth since 1994, working in partnership with YouthWorks to onnect thousands of young people between the ages of 14 and 21 to summer jobs throughout Baltimore. Over 4K Baltimore City youth have participated in the JH Summer Jobs program, which has grown from employing 216 students in 2014 to 479 in 2019 and successfully pivoted to virtual summer jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • East Baltimore Food Distribution. Provided more than 6 million meals to East Baltimore families experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic through partnerships with faith-based and community organizations like Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD) and Turnaround Tuesday.
  • HopkinsLocal. Johns Hopkins University and Medicine launched HopkinsLocal in 2015. We have since hired more than 3,000 Baltimoreans in targeted neighborhoods and 1,533 returning citizens. We have also spent more than $888 million at local businesses and committed more than $270 million ($144.6 million last year alone) to minority-owned, women-owned, or disadvantaged businesses based in Baltimore City for design and construction projects. 

JHPD Policy Development and Feedback Process

How will you incorporate public feedback into the policy development?

All draft policies were be posted on the Public Safety website for a 60-day public comment period before adoption. As feedback was submitted it was and will continue to be tracked and catalogued. The draft policies also have been crafted to incorporate feedback received during the Memorandum of Understanding public comment period. Johns Hopkins plans to incorporate or otherwise reflect recommended changes in the final version of the policies so long as the feedback is aligned with JHU values and commitments, permissible within legal parameters, and aligned with community and officer safety best practices. 

How can the public be assured you are taking their recommendations?

We will be informed by robust and transparent community engagement during the entire policy development process.At the conclusion of the policy development process, a report will be posted on the Public Safety website that details the community engagement process and includes all feedback received as well as the university’s response.

In addition, all draft policies were shared with the JH Accountability Board prior to the posting of draft policies for public review and comment. JH Accountability Board members shared their feedback on draft policies in writing and during the Board’s public meetings. 21st Century Solutions (21CP), a diverse, seasoned group of outside experts dedicated to police reform in America prepared the following questions to help prompt consideration of the draft policies: 

  1. Is this policy consistent with the values and needs of the community?
  2. Does this policy help JHPD safely carry out its stated mission? 
  3. Is this policy understandable? Are there any points that need clarification?
  4. Is there anything that needs to be addressed in this policy that isn’t currently reflected in the draft?
How were the policies created or developed?

The draft policies are based on examples of 21st Century best practices in public safety policy, identified through extensive benchmarking of university and municipal law enforcement agencies across the nation. Taken together, they represent a comprehensively progressive approach to policing that prioritizes equity, transparency, accountability, and community-based public safety strategies.

We scanned the country for the most progressive policies out there and enhanced many of them. In addition, we consulted and collaborated with experts and evaluated the landscape of university municipal peers. We are determined to have the most reform-minded set of practices and procedures in the country employing a community policing approach.

How did you determine the duration of the public comment period?

A public review is essential to the development of the Johns Hopkins Police Department policies and aligns with our commitment to transparent and accountable policing. Research on national practices revealed that a minimum 30-day public comment period is an accepted best practice. To ensure adequate time for our community to review and comment on the draft policies, we extended our public comment period to 60 days.

Will there be an opportunity for feedback after the policies are adopted?

We always welcome feedback and questions, which can be submitted through the Public Safety website.

How do I provide feedback on the draft policies?
  • During the 60-day public posting and comment period, we encouraged you to submit feedback using the Public Safety website feedback form, which allowed you to comment on specific policies.
  • Additionally, community members may write to and speak with members of the Johns Hopkins Accountability Board.
  • The JH Accountability Board is explicitly tasked in our guiding law, the Community Safety and Strengthening Act, with reviewing policies, soliciting community input, and providing feedback on an ongoing basis. As Dr. Bard shared in the virtual forum on April 20, draft policies were provided to the JH Accountability Board as part of the commitment to transparency.
What are the next steps after the policies are completed?

Once the final policies are adopted, the policy manual will be posted publicly on the Public Safety website.   

Where can I go to find background information on the policies?

Resources are available on the Public Safety website to help community members navigate the policy feedback process. We will hosted two “Ask the Expert” sessions during the 60-day public comment period where the community can learn more about progressive policing reforms and specific JHPD draft policies.    

Once the policies are adopted, can they be amended later?

Yes, policies will be routinely reviewed for effectiveness and best practices and updated accordingly. All updates will go through a process that solicits community review and feedback. In addition to the policy changes motivated by state or local law, these policies are also research-oriented, data-driven, and based on or meet accreditation standards. JHAB can also request a review of a policy if the amendment is warranted.

Will there be multiple rounds of policy development?

There were two initial batches of policies for review. The first batch included those considered “high interest” based on feedback received from the JH Accountability Board and our community. The second batch included personnel and administrative policies. All draft policies were posted online for a 60-day public comment period. Even after the policies are finalized, they will be routinely reviewed for effectiveness and best practices and updated accordingly.

Will Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, and students be given the chance to weigh in on policy?

Yes, everyone was and still is encouraged to review the draft policies and submit feedback on the Public Safety website. Even after the policies are finalized, they will be routinely reviewed for effectiveness and best practices and updated accordingly.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

What was the process for developing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

Consistent with police departments at universities in Baltimore City and across Maryland,  Johns Hopkins (JH) is required by the Community Safety and Strengthening Act (CSSA) to enter into a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the  Baltimore Police Department (the BPD) regarding key operational details of the JHPD, including jurisdictional boundaries, the use of body worn cameras, arrests, warrants, investigations, and hiring. 

Johns Hopkins is committed to exceed its legislative requirements and committed to an extensive community engagement process in advance of finalizing the MOU:

  • Posting an initial draft of the proposed MOU online for 30-day public review; 
  • Sharing the draft with the Baltimore City Council for their 30-day review/feedback; 
  • Three public town halls to present the MOU for public feedback hosted by the University, as well as an additional town hall hosted by two members of the Baltimore City Council; and
  • Nearly 30 individual and small group meetings. 

By the conclusion of the feedback period, more than 250 comments and questions were submitted by the community. On December 2, 2022, the final 21-page MOU document, initially released in draft form in September, was published, reflecting the community feedback received over the past two months.

In addition to making the final MOU public, Johns Hopkins is sharing an independent report created by experts at 21CP Solutions, a consulting group that helps cities and communities transform the delivery of equitable and integrity-driven public safety services. Johns Hopkins also published a separate document listing each of the more than 250 comments and questions received during the feedback period along with notes on how that feedback is being addressed.

Nearly all of the MOU-related feedback received was incorporated into the final document. Some examples of language adjusted or added to clarify ideas included:

  • The  Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) will not be dispatched to all calls; Johns Hopkins Public Safety will continue to deploy unarmed public safety officers and the Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team when appropriate, and the JHPD will only be dispatched to calls requiring a police response; 
  • The JHPD’s expanded police powers during a declared emergency will be time-limited, ending once that emergency declaration concludes; and 
  • JHPD’s body worn camera policy will ensure the protection of confidential, private, or sensitive data. 

The public had additional opportunities to provide feedback in the development of the many policies and procedures that will guide the operations of the JHPD. The JHPD implementation phase is expected to last for approximately six to 12 months and that the Johns Hopkins Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board) will be an integral partner each step of the way.

The above-mentioned resources can also be found below: 

To learn more, members of the community are encouraged to read Vice President Bard’s message. Please also continue to share feedback below or at publicsafetyfeedback@jhu.edu.  

What is covered by the MOU?

The  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) emphasizes the key accountability mechanisms enshrined in the law that authorized Johns Hopkins (JH) to establish the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD), including:

  • State-mandated public reporting;
  • Training; and
  • Exemptions from state immunity protections.

The MOU also:

  • Requires the JHPD’s full compliance with the Baltimore City federal consent decree: specifically, the JHPD will adopt policies and procedures that meet or exceed the principles reflected in the  Baltimore Police Department (the BPD)’s policies related to Stops, Search and Arrest, Use of Force and Fair and Impartial Policing
  • Defines the JHPD’s jurisdictional boundaries, which will be limited to the JHU campus area as established in the statute;
  • Places caps on the hiring of BPD officers; and
  • Calls for JHto pay the BPD for any additional costs and expenses incurred by BPD as a result of the JHPD.

Importantly, the MOU is just one part of the framework and policies that will govern the JHPD. Others are driven by state law and additional commitments, all of which are subject to full transparency and multiple layers of oversight, including by the Johns Hopkins Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board). Information about all aspects of the JHPD will be posted on our website throughout the implementation and into the future.

Who was invited to the MOU town halls?

The Community Safety and Strengthening Act requires that the University host two public forums to present the proposed memorandum of understanding – and specifically directs that one of the forums must be on or near the Homewood and Peabody campuses, and one must be on or near the East Baltimore campus. Additionally, the university is required to provide notice at least 10 days before the forum by posting notice on a public website and emailing and mailing a notice to University affiliates and community associations that are in proximity to the campus. The University followed and went above and beyond these requirements, taking the following steps:

  • On August 23, 2022, Dr. Branville Bard, vice president of public safety, sent a community message to all JHU students, faculty, and staff to announce three town halls:
    • September 22 at Shriver Hall, near the Homewood and Peabody; 
    • September 29 at the Turner Auditorium, near the East Baltimore campus; and 
    • A fully virtual town hall on September 30. 
  • The town halls on September 22 and 29 were also available on the livestream, the link for which was included in Dr. Bard’s August 23 message, and all of the town halls were accessible via a specially-designed phone line for those unable to watch online or attend in person.  
  • On August 24, the community message providing notice of the town halls was mailed to all students enrolled in classes/programs in Baltimore this Fall, all students living in Baltimore, all employees working in Baltimore, and all of the community associations around our Baltimore campuses Homewood, Peabody, and East Baltimore. In total, more than 31,000 individuals and over 35 community associations received written and emailed notice almost one full month in advance of the first town hall. 
  • On September 19, Dr. Bard shared a second community message that included the link to the draft memorandum, which was posted publicly on a new webpage created entirely for the MOU feedback process. The draft MOU was made available in hard copy to all town hall participants as well. Dr. Bard’s message also included a reminder with further details for the town halls and feedback process. 
  • September 19 to October 18, 2022: 30-day public comment period [1]
  • October 19 to November 17, 2022: 30-day City Council review and feedback period

In all, the JHU Department of Public Safety received over 250 public comments or questions and has committed to continuing to receive and consider all feedback from the public throughout this entire period.

[1] Although the 30-day public comment period ended October 18, 2022, JHU committed to continuing to receive and consider all feedback from the public through the City Council feedback period, which was in effect from October 19 to November 17, 2022

How can the public share feedback on the MOU?

The document that has been shared and posted for public input is a proposed MOU. We are now in the process of listening, learning, and receiving feedback on that proposal from our community, and that input will inform the final MOU. The university’s extensive community engagement process around the proposed MOU includes three town halls, public review and comment, City Council review and comment, and a series of smaller meetings and conversations with students, faculty, staff, neighbors, and community organizations. The final MOU will be shared with our campus community and posted online later this fall, along with a report summarizing the feedback received through the community engagement process.

The town halls were all open to the public and available for livestream viewing on the Johns Hopkins Public Safety Virtual Events page. Recordings are posted on our public safety website.

For more information on the MOU process, please visit our public safety website. Please send any questions or feedback to publicsafetyfeedback@jhu.edu.

In the MOU, there is a provision that the mayor can authorize the expansion of JHPD. When can that happen? What is the process? (New!)

Both the Community Safety and Strengthening Act and the MOU provide the Mayor with limited authority to temporarily expand JHPD jurisdictional boundaries during emergencies. This Mayoral expansion of JHPD boundaries is common among university police departments. In Baltimore, it would be permitted only if (1) there is a sudden and unforeseen emergency of such public gravity and urgency that it requires an immediate response to protect the public welfare, and the Mayor issues an order declaring an emergency that specifies the manner in which the police officer’s powers will be exercised or (2) if ordered to exercise the powers by the governor under a declared state of emergency.  

Will the JHPD have a policy manual separate from the MOU?

Yes. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is one part of the framework and policies that will govern the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD), including the Community Safety and Strengthening Act (CSSA) and other state laws that govern state-authorized police departments. The JHPD will also have a full policy manual that provides direction to the officers and holds all JHPD employees accountable to the MOU and the policies of the agency. Now that the MOU is final, Johns Hopkins has begun the process of developing JHPD policies and practices that comply with the Baltimore City federal consent decree, in consultation with the JHAB.

JHPD Proposed Boundaries and Responsibilities

What are the proposed boundaries of the JHPD?

Johns Hopkins (JH) is planning to implement the  Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) only within the university’s Homewood, East Baltimore, and Peabody “campus area” as defined in both the Community Safety and Strengthening Act (CSSA) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“Campus area” is defined in state law as property that is:  

  1. owned, leased, operated by, or under the control of the University;  
  2. located within specific boundaries (listed in the Act) on the HomewoodEast Baltimore, and Peabody campuses; and  
  3. used for educational or institutional purposes.  

The JHPD campus area does not include non-Hopkins property except public sidewalks, public streets, or other public thoroughfares, and/or parking facilities that are immediately adjacent to the campus. Preliminary maps of the JHPD jurisdictional boundaries can be viewed here.

There are no plans to expand the JHPD beyond the campus area at this time. Future expansion of those jurisdictional boundaries into neighboring communities is permitted by state law but would be subject to an additional public comment and approval process, including an additional MOU with the Baltimore Police Department (the BPD) and agreement from a majority of the community as certified by the Baltimore City Council.   

What are the responsibilities of the JHPD vs. BPD in response to crime?

The JHPD will be responsible for patrolling Johns Hopkins’ buildings and property within the campus area and will serve as the first responder for all calls within the campus area that require a police response. Following the JHPD’s initial response to calls, Johns Hopkins police officers will continue to serve as the lead for investigations and arrests for burglary, car theft, and other less serious crimes. The BPD will be the lead for investigations and arrests for more serious offenses (such as homicide, human trafficking, rape, kidnapping, and car accidents resulting in death or serious bodily harm); this includes any crime that requires investigation by BPD’s Crime Lab, Homicide Division, or involves a sex offense.

Will the JHPD be dispatched to all calls into public safety?

The JHPD will be responsible for patrolling Johns Hopkins’ buildings and property within the campus area and will serve as the first responder for all calls within the campus area that require a police response. We recognize, however, that a police response is not appropriate for every public safety call. All calls will be assessed to determine the nature of the situation and potential risk and the appropriate response. In keeping with our commitment to adhere to the ACLU of Massachusetts’ 2021 “Racially Just Policing: A Model Policy for Colleges and Universities,” the JHPD will develop policies and procedures to ensure that police officers are only dispatched when necessary. Our unarmed public safety officers, the Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST) or other non-policing alternatives will continue to be used when possible.

Can you describe how an incident would be handled if it occurs on a sidewalk within the campus area versus just outside of the campus area? Who responds?  

All calls will be assessed to determine the nature of the situation and potential risk and the appropriate response. In keeping with our commitment to adhere to the ACLU of Massachusetts’ 2021 “Racially Just Policing: A Model Policy for Colleges and Universities,” the JHPD will only be dispatched when necessary. Our unarmed public safety officers, the Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST), or other non-policing alternatives will continue to be used when possible.

If there is an incident that requires a police response within the JHPD’s campus area, then the JHPD will be dispatched. Following the JHPD’s initial response, Johns Hopkins police officers will continue to serve as the lead for investigations and arrests for burglary, car theft, and other less serious crimes. The BPD will be the lead for investigations and arrests for more serious offenses (such as homicide, human trafficking, rape, kidnapping, and car accidents resulting in death or serious bodily harm).

If an incident requiring a police response occurs outside of the campus area, BPD would be dispatched. 

Will JHPD be able to conduct traffic stops for motor vehicle infractions within the campus area when patrolling?

Yes, the JHPD is authorized to conduct traffic enforcement within the Homewood, Peabody, and East Baltimore campus area. Traffic enforcement outside of the campus area will continue to be conducted by BPD.

Will JHPD be able to make an arrest for an open warrant?

Yes, the JHPD is authorized to obtain and execute warrants within the campus area. Warrants for service outside of the campus area must be submitted to BPD for service, and those arrests must be made by BPD.

Can the JHPD police areas outside of the campus area?

Under state law, the JHPD is not permitted to exercise police powers outside of its campus area, unless:

  1. engaged in fresh pursuit of a suspected offender;
  2. necessary to facilitate the orderly flow of traffic to and from the university’s campus area;
  3. specially requested or authorized by the Mayor of Baltimore City in specific emergencies; or
  4. ordered by the Governor under a declared state of emergency.

JHPD policies will support the jurisdictional mandates in the Community Safety and Strengthening Act and the MOU, and prescribe discipline for violations of the policy.

Why do the JHPD boundaries not include Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the Eastern building? What police force has authority over other Hopkins-affiliated areas (e.g., Carey Business School)?

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (JHBMC), the Eastern building, and the Carey Business School, as well as other Johns Hopkins facilities across the city, are outside of the JHPD’s “campus area” jurisdictional boundaries as defined in the law that authorizes the JHPD (the Community Safety and Strengthening Act). 

In order to expand the JHPD beyond the campus area to those properties, or any other neighborhoods not expressly outlined in the law, Johns Hopkins would be required to obtain approval from BPD and majority community support from the relevant neighborhood as certified by the Baltimore City Council.

However, while the JHPD jurisdictional boundaries do not include JHBMC, the Eastern building, or other facilities, we will continue to provide public safety services to all Johns Hopkins facilities via our unarmed public safety officers, as well as off-duty Baltimore city police officers and deputy sheriffs, and we will continue to call upon and coordinate with BPD for safety services there as needed.

If the university expands, will the JHPD expand as well?

There are no immediate plans to expand the JHPD. However, under the law authorizing the creation of the JHPD, future jurisdictional boundaries could potentially be expanded if: 

  1. Johns Hopkins obtains new property within the limited “campus area” street boundaries listed in the CSSA; or
  2. There is majority community support in a particular neighborhood and BPD approval for the JHPD boundaries to include that neighborhood. In this instance, Johns Hopkins would need to post an additional draft MOU with the proposed new jurisdictional boundaries for community and city council feedback, host two public town halls to present the draft MOU, and post the final MOU online for public review. Further, the City Council must also pass a resolution confirming that there is majority community support for those expanded boundaries.

Prior to any future expansion of the JHPD, we would share with the JH Accountability Board and the broader community a proposal for determining “majority community support.”

What qualifies as a fresh pursuit?

Under the Community Safety and Strengthening Act, and as restated in the MOU, the JHPD has limited authority to exercise police powers outside of the campus area when an officer is in fresh pursuit of a suspected offender. JHPD officers are subject to Maryland law, which defines fresh pursuit as a “pursuit that is continuous and without unreasonable delay.” Officers can engage in fresh pursuit of a person who has “committed or is reasonably believed by the law enforcement officer to have committed a felony” or “has committed a misdemeanor in the presence of the law enforcement officer” in the JHPD “campus area.” [1] For example, if a person intentionally injures another person in front of an officer, the officer may pursue the assailant across jurisdictional boundaries in order to arrest the suspect and keep the community safe. 

[1] MD Code, Criminal Procedure, § 2-301, MD Crim Proc §2-301


How will the Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST) operate once there is a JHPD?

The Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST) pairs behavioral health clinicians with specially trained public safety personnel to provide immediate in-person assistance to individuals experiencing a personal crisis. The program launched on the Homewood campus in 2021 will expand its coverage to the Peabody/Mount Vernon area this fall. An expansion to East Baltimore is anticipated over the next year.

When the JHPD is in place, the BHCST will continue to operate as a partnership between our specially-trained unarmed public safety officers and our behavioral health clinicians. All calls will continue to be assessed to determine the nature of the situation and potential risk and the appropriate response. We recognize that a police response is not appropriate for every public safety call, and the JHPD will serve as the first responder only for calls within the campus area that require a police response. 

Will JHU continue to have unarmed officers as well as JHPD?

Yes. Even once the JHPD has been fully implemented, our unarmed public safety professionals will continue to play a key role in our broader public safety strategy. This is a requirement in state law and aligned with our vision for public safety at Johns Hopkins.

Importantly, the patrol boundaries of our unarmed public safety professionals are now and will continue to be broader than the JHPD. Services provided by our public safety organization include:

  • 24/7 on-campus presence; 
  • Unarmed public safety officers with patrol boundaries that include the Bayview Medical CenterCarey Business SchoolEast BaltimoreEastern CampusHomewoodPeabodyWashington, DC
  • Complementary escort service with officers who will meet you and walk you to your on-campus destination; 
  • State-of-the-art Communications Center, which monitors a Closed Circuit Television Network, card access, duress alarms, and intrusion alarms at the East Baltimore campus, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and Howard County General Hospital; and 
  • The Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST), a highly innovative co-responder program that pairs licensed behavioral health clinicians with trained unarmed public safety personnel to provide immediate expert assistance to Johns Hopkins students, faculty, staff, and neighbors experiencing a behavioral health crisis. 

Please see our website for more information about our existing public safety organization.

The Baltimore Police Department (the BPD) is understaffed. What will you do to make sure that  Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) does not make the situation worse for the BPD?

Johns Hopkins has long relied on the Baltimore Police Department (the BPD) for nearly all on-campus policing needs, including emergency calls, incident and event management, and investigations, and through the daily engagement of armed, off-duty BPD Officers as a part of every university public safety shift. Once it is up and running, the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) will help reduce the strain on the BPD and city resources by relying instead on university-employed and trained officers for most policing needs within JH campuses.

In addition, Johns Hopkins and the BPD have included language in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further support the BPD’s staffing levels. Specifically:

  • Johns Hopkins would be prohibited from directly soliciting BPD sworn officers for employment with the JHPD; and
  • JHU and the JHPD would be limited to hiring no more than five (5) BPD sworn officers per year.
Will having a JHPD eliminate the need for off-duty officers on Hopkins’ campuses?

Johns Hopkins has long relied on the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) for nearly all of our on-campus policing needs, including emergency calls, incident and event management, and investigations, and through the daily engagement of armed, off-duty Baltimore City Police Officers as a part of every university public safety shift. At any given time, Johns Hopkins has up to 11 armed Baltimore police officers and deputy sheriffs working on our Baltimore campuses.

Once fully staffed, the JHPD will allow Johns Hopkins to replace the use of off-duty Baltimore police officers and deputy sheriffs on our Homewood, Peabody, and East Baltimore campuses. This will help to reduce the strain on the city’s resources while also advancing and modeling equitable and reform-oriented public safety strategies.

Will current JH public safety officers and staff be replaced by JHPD hires?

No, the JHPD will not replace our existing public safety officers. When fully implemented, the JHPD will be narrow in scope – no more than 100 personnel – and only one element of our overall public safety approach, which includes root cause prevention, innovative responses to behavioral health crises, investments in community safety partnerships, and highly professional traditional campus security. Even once the JHPD has been fully implemented, we will continue to rely on our very large contingent of unarmed public safety officers, now numbering ~1000 personnel. This is a requirement in state law and aligned with our vision for public safety at Johns Hopkins.

Is JHPD officer recruitment limited to city residents?

Johns Hopkins recognizes the importance of having officers who are a part of the community in Baltimore City, and we are establishing several initiatives to promote local and minority hiring and residency.

Although not all JHPD officers are required to be city residents, the Community Safety and Strengthening Act requires that within five years, at least 25% of the JHPD workforce must be Baltimore City residents and that the JHPD must host or participate in at least four job fairs in and across Baltimore City each year to recruit and interview applicants for positions in the JHPD. To ensure accountability in this regard, Johns Hopkins must also track and report publicly our recruitment and workforce data.

 I saw a job posting for a police officer on the Johns Hopkins Public Safety website. Is that a JHPD position?

The Baltimore Campus Police Officer posting is for a non-sworn, unarmed position within Johns Hopkins’ current public safety organization. We have not yet begun hiring for the Johns Hopkins Police Department but expect to start that process by the summer/fall of 2023.

How did the University select Dr. Branville Bard to serve as Chief of Police?

As President Daniels, President Sowers, and Dean DeWeese wrote in their April 20 message to the community, Dr. Bard is best suited to be the inaugural police chief because of his exceptional track record as an effective, community-oriented law enforcement professional, his outspoken and passionate advocacy for social justice, racial equity, and police reform, and his lifelong dedication to promoting accountable, transparent policing. 

Dr. Bard’s devotion is evident in the deep relationships he has forged with our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors in Baltimore. His unwavering commitment to working with our community has been the hallmark of his comprehensive approach to public safety that embraces root cause prevention, innovative responses to behavioral health crises, and essential community partnerships. During his tenure, Dr. Bard has helped to implement the Innovation Fund for Community Safety, a $6 million fund to support community-driven public safety solutions, and established the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team that pairs clinicians with specially trained security officials to provide in-person assistance to people experiencing behavioral health crises.

To ensure the JHPD gets off the ground with a culture of accountability, transparency, and community partnership, Dr. Bard will be involved in every stage of its development. From policies and procedures, to hiring and training, he is determined to make sure that the details of implementation are grounded in building community trust and ongoing opportunities for input. 

Training and Oversight

How will you ensure the accountability and transparency of a Johns Hopkins Police Department within the community?

We are dedicated to creating a police department that is public-facing, public-serving, and publicly accountable. Importantly, in addition to our commitment to progressive policing policies, including those recommended in the model policy proposed by the ACLU of Massachusetts in the 2021 “Racially Just Policing: A Model Policy for Colleges and Universities” and the Obama Administration’s 2015 “Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the JHPD will be subject to multiple layers of state-mandated accountability mechanisms, including:

  1. Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board). The 15-member Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board is composed of students, faculty, staff, and community members and enables community members to share feedback regarding the university police department directly with department leadership. The board is also responsible for reviewing department metrics, providing feedback on existing department policies and practices, and offering recommendations for improving those policies and practices.
  2. State-Mandated Complaint Investigation and Disciplinary Process. The JHPD falls within the jurisdiction of the Baltimore City Accountability Board and must comply with state requirements around the investigation of complaints and discipline of officers.
  3. Body-Worn Cameras. JHPD officers must wear and use body-worn cameras.
  4. Public Disclosure. The JHPD is required to provide public access to certain law enforcement records, including department records related to an arrest for a criminal offense.
  5. Independent Evaluation and Review. There must be an independent evaluation and review of the JHPD within 10 years, after which time the Maryland General Assembly must act to extend or reauthorize the JHPD, or else it will terminate. The results of the evaluation and review will be publicly available. 
  6. Annual Reporting. As a state-authorized police department, the JHPD is required to comply with all applicable state reporting requirements, including reporting on use of force incidents, officer-involved deaths, and traffic stops. The JHPD also is subject to reporting requirements beyond those currently required of other state-authorized law enforcement agencies regarding recruitment efforts, department size, department funding, arrests, complaints, use of surveillance technologies, officer-involved shootings, officer discipline, and demographic data on the JHPD security workforce. All data must be publicly reported and disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and, when applicable, officer rank.
  7. Civilian Review Board. The JHPD is subject to the jurisdiction of the Civilian Review Board of Baltimore City (CRB). The CRB—composed of residents from across the city—reviews city police agencies’ handling of serious police misconduct complaints and makes recommendations for improvement. Only two other city universities are currently under the CRB’s purview.
  8. Exemption from State Qualified Immunity. JHPD officers will not be protected by qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a long-standing legal doctrine that effectively shields law enforcement officials from being sued for unconstitutional misconduct. The JHPD is among the first sworn police departments in the country to ban qualified immunity protections.
What is the difference between the Baltimore City Police Accountability Board and the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board?

The Baltimore City Police Accountability Board (PAB) and the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board) are two separate, though complementary, entities.

Under the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021, every county in Maryland, as well as the City of Baltimore, is required to establish a Police Accountability Board that would:

  • hold quarterly meetings with heads of law enforcement agencies, and otherwise work with law enforcement agencies and the City government to improve matters of policing;
  • appoint civilian members to charging committees and trial boards;
  • receive complaints of police misconduct filed by members of the public;
  • on a quarterly basis, review outcomes of disciplinary matters considered by charging committees; and
  • by December 31 of each year, submit a report to the governing body of the City that identifies any trends in the disciplinary process of City police officers, and makes recommendations on policy changes to improve police accountability in the City.

The BCP Police Accountability Board is managed by the Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights and is made up of 17 members who are appointed by the Mayor and City Council. This body receives all complaints of police misconduct involving the public and refers them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. The BCP Accountability Board also meets quarterly to review and make recommendations on policies, advises the Mayor and City Council on policing matters, and appoints civilian members to the Administrative Charging Committee, which is a body of five civilian members who review the investigations for complaints filed with the Police Accountability Board and decide on disciplinary outcomes.

The Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board (JH Accountability Board) originated as one of several university recommendations in the Interim Study on Approaches to Improving Public Safety On and Around Johns Hopkins University Campuses and reflects both community input and research into best practices among police departments nationally. The Community Safety and Strengthening Act, which passed the Maryland General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session, positions the JH Accountability Board as a key adviser to university leadership through every step of JHPD implementation. Under the law, JH Accountability Board members are responsible for sharing community concerns directly with department leadership, reviewing police department metrics, and assessing current and prospective department policies, procedures, and trainings in order to provide recommendations for improvement.

The JH Accountability Board is a 15-member Board comprised of students, faculty, staff, and community members; one member is appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore City, one is appointed by the President of the Baltimore City Council, and the other 13 members are appointed by JHU and confirmed by the Maryland State Senate.

How will you prevent the racial profiling or racially biased policing that other university police departments have been criticized for, and how would you address officer misconduct?

Racially biased policing of any kind at Johns Hopkins or elsewhere is wholly unacceptable. It undermines community safety and well-being and is antithetical to constitutional community policing. We unequivocally believe that safety and security go hand in hand with respect for civil rights and civil liberties, and we will hold our public safety team accountable to that standard. Racially biased policing is a serious concern across the nation, and we view the creation of a new police department as an opportunity to create a best-in-class model that serves as an example of how to prevent and avoid bad police practices.

The central test of a community-oriented, harm-reducing public safety operation is how its officers treat those they encounter. Johns Hopkins will require training in lawful searches, recognizing and mitigating the impact of implicit bias, and preventing racially biased policing, which can impact decisions about whom to stop and enforcement actions during the stop.

Our commitments also include recruiting officers with a track record of positively serving diverse communities, establishing clear rules and training for officer-civilian interactions that emphasize respect for all people, requiring officers to identify themselves and explain the JHPD complaint process, and using tracking and data analysis of stops to identify and address any inappropriate treatment of minorities. In addition, the Community Safety and Strengthening Act requires that JHPD officers use body-worn cameras to promote officer accountability and transparency.

These priorities were also reflected in our search for a new public safety leader at Johns Hopkins. Vice President for Public Safety Branville Bard is an outspoken advocate of police reform who has publicly called for a reckoning related to racial justice and has a proven track record of creating change within public safety operations. VP Bard’s Doctor of Public Administration dissertation focused on strategies to eliminate racial profiling, and as chief of police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he launched a public-facing dashboard to proactively monitor data on police-citizen interactions for indications of possible racial profiling or biased policing. Bard plans to launch a similar database for public safety operations at Johns Hopkins. 

What kind of training will university police officers receive on diversity, community policing, and related issues?

Training for the JHPD will meet the rigorous standards outlined in the legislation and be consistent with the core values of our institution, including free expression, diversity, equity, inclusion, accountability, and transparency. State law requires the JHPD to provide training that:

  • advances impartial and nondiscriminatory policing, including training on conducting lawful searches, recognizing the existence of everyone’s implicit biases, and learning strategies to mitigate the impact of implicit bias against racial, religious, sexual, and other minorities in their decision-making;
  • ensures lawful use of force and safe treatment of individuals in custody;
  • supports the lawful exercise of rights of free expression, particularly in the context of a university community;
  • promotes appropriate interactions with youth and individuals who are in crisis, are neurodivergent, or have a behavioral health condition or disabilities; and
  • builds trust between victims of sexual assault and the JHPD.

In addition to those training requirements mandated in the law, Johns Hopkins has also committed to requiring all newly hired officers to complete training on the following topics:

  • cultural and LGBTQ+ awareness and competence;
  • community policing, including understanding community expectations and reservations around policing in the city;
  • procedural justice in police-citizen interactions;
  • active bystandership in policing;
  • de-escalation techniques;
  • crisis intervention, including detecting behavior that calls for a medical and/or mental health intervention rather than a traditional law enforcement intervention;
  • collaborating with nonpolice university resources, including mental health practitioners;
  • trauma-informed practices for police-citizen contacts, including contacts with youth and victims of sexual assault;
  • understanding youth brain development, youth trauma, and the impacts of police interactions on youth;
  • alternatives to arrest, particularly for youth;
  • free expression in university environments; and
  • Clery Act and Title IX.

We will require our officers to undergo supervised field training that includes an introduction to community leaders, particularly of underserved or traditionally marginalized communities in or near their service area. And we will ensure that training occurs regularly to reinforce important lessons and teach new ones.

Will JHPD officers be trained in how to handle incidents involving sexual assault?

Yes. The ability to design a police department from the ground up to address the issues confronting a university community is a strong corollary to our ongoing efforts to prevent and address sexual assault and misconduct

Today, members of the Johns Hopkins Public Safety team are required to understand the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures; to complete training in sexual assault issues and incidents; and to fully inform any potential victims about their options, including those available within the University’s process. The University maintains a daily crime log, issues public safety notices, and delivers annual Clery Act and Office of Institutional Equity reports that provide data to the public on reported sexual misconduct.

All JHPD officers will be trained extensively in working with and helping to support individuals reporting sexual misconduct. As with all serious crimes, if the victim chooses to report a sexual assault for criminal investigation, JHPD officers will be able to assist in an investigation as an alternative to going directly to the BPD. The JHPD will also work closely with the JHU Office of Institutional Equity to ensure compliance with the JHU Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.

Please submit any additional questions on our feedback page. We will update the FAQs on an ongoing basis.