June 28, 2019
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
We are writing to share updates on Johns Hopkins’ ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of our campuses, facilities, and surrounding neighborhoods.
At present, we are in a period of transition for Johns Hopkins safety and security operations. With the recent departure of Vice President for Security Melissa Hyatt, who has been named the new chief of police for Baltimore County, our most urgent priority is to recruit a new vice president to oversee global security operations for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. This role is responsible for more than 1,100 current employees and spans our 15 campuses in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Florida, as well as our footprint abroad. We are fortunate that Connor Scott, former chief of staff for security, has stepped into the role of acting vice president, and we will soon convene a search committee to help identify Chief Hyatt’s permanent replacement.
We intend to proceed thoughtfully in this search process to ensure that there are opportunities for consultation with communities at our medical facilities, on our academic campuses, and in nearby neighborhoods. This includes incorporating faculty, employee, student, and community voices in the search process and providing opportunities for our communities to meet the selected candidate. As this search proceeds, we will be sure to post periodic updates on the Public Safety Initiatives website.
In addition, on July 1 the Community Safety and Strengthening Act—a new state law aimed at improving safety in Baltimore and at Johns Hopkins—goes into effect, and we will begin the multiyear process of planning and then building a 100-person Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD).
In keeping with both the letter and spirit of the law, Johns Hopkins will be taking a deliberate and inclusive approach to establishing a university police department. Full implementation will take time—years rather than months—because we are determined to make good on our commitment not only to get the details right but also to involve the broader community, as we build the trust and capabilities that are essential for this new model of university policing.
In the first six months of implementation, we will begin planning in earnest and launch the appointment process for the new University Police Accountability Board. By law, the Accountability Board includes 10 students, faculty, and employees from across Johns Hopkins (including at least one member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association) and five community members (two of whom are appointed by the Mayor and City Council President). Accountability Board members must be approved by the state senate, and we hope to present recommendations during the next legislative session, which runs from January through April 2020.
Once a new VP for security is in place, we will begin discussions with the Baltimore Police Department on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for further defining and coordinating our public safety efforts. The MOU process will be open and transparent, with numerous opportunities for public input, including open meetings and posting of a draft MOU online for review and comment. We also will provide a detailed implementation plan, with a phased build-out of the Johns Hopkins Police Department—campus by campus—over the next several years, and then a process for seeking community input and agreement (and City Council approval) for neighborhood patrols.
By proceeding with care and seeking input at every stage, we believe Johns Hopkins can achieve the end that many of us regard as essential: an effective, responsible, and expert police department that models the best in publicly accountable, constitutional, and community-based policing.
In the meantime, we will continue to work to address the significant safety challenges we face across our city today. Our existing safety and security operation, which includes unarmed campus police and security officers and a small contingent of off-duty Baltimore police officers, is here to serve you, and we welcome your feedback and questions at any time.
Daniel G. Ennis
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
Johns Hopkins University
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Johns Hopkins Medicine