New vice president for public safety

July 27, 2021

Dear Johns Hopkins Community, 

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Branville Bard Jr. as Johns Hopkins’ new vice president for public safety. Beginning August 30, Dr. Bard will oversee public safety operations for all Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine campuses and facilities worldwide, with the exception of the Applied Physics Laboratory.

Dr. Bard has a stellar, decades-long track record as an effective, community-oriented law enforcement professional and as an outspoken and passionate advocate for social justice, racial equity, and police reform. 

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Bard quickly rose through the ranks of that city’s police department to lead its largest police district, where he oversaw both reductions in crime and improvements in police-community relations. He was subsequently recruited to serve as chief of police and director of public safety for the Philadelphia Housing Authority Police Department, the fourth-largest such agency in the nation.

Dr. Bard is currently police commissioner for Cambridge, Massachusetts—home to six colleges and universities and three hospitals. In that context, he has significant exposure to public safety matters in academic and health system settings. While in Cambridge, Dr. Bard established the department’s Family and Social Justice Section, which integrated several different units into one coherent organization. Under this structure, the Cambridge police force was better able to address the needs of community members such as juveniles, homeless individuals, the elderly, and those experiencing mental health and substance use issues. He also created Cambridge’s procedural justice section, which reviews data relating to police-citizen interactions for indications of biased policing and makes that information available through a public dashboard. Both of these initiatives have garnered national attention for their innovative character.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bard has been a respected national voice on the need to ensure that policing is nonracialized, constitutional, and community-based. His commitment to developing progressive approaches to public safety made him a clear choice in a national search led by a broadly representative search committee comprising faculty, staff, students, and community members. We look forward to his leadership in implementing our public safety initiatives here at Johns Hopkins, including the Innovation Fund for Community Safety, the Behavioral Health Crisis Response Initiative, our ongoing efforts to model best practices within our security workforce, and the development of a new model of transparent, accountable policing in the Johns Hopkins Police Department. 

During the next several months, Dr. Bard will begin building the relationships within the Johns Hopkins community and with our neighbors in Baltimore necessary to ensure that our public safety operation and the future JHPD live up to our commitments and values as an institution. 

Dr. Bard holds both a doctorate in public administration and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Valdosta State University, where his dissertation focused on strategies to eliminate racial profiling. He also holds a master’s degree in public safety management from Saint Joseph’s University. 

We wish to thank Connor Scott for his outstanding service as interim vice president, and we greatly appreciate the thoughtful guidance of the search committee members throughout this process and, in particular, their work in identifying Dr. Bard for this position.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bard to the Johns Hopkins community.

Sincerely,
Ronald J. Daniels
President, Johns Hopkins University

Paul B. Rothman, MD
Dean of the Medical Faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Kevin W. Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN
President, Johns Hopkins Health System
and Executive Vice President of Johns Hopkins Medicine