Update on Johns Hopkins Police Department legislation

February 5, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

At the end of last year, President Daniels and Dean Rothman announced our intention to seek legislation that would authorize Johns Hopkins to establish a university police department. Yesterday, SB 793—the Community Safety and Strengthening Act—was introduced in the Maryland State Senate as part of a broader legislative package to strengthen communities in our city and state.

As you know, throughout last summer and fall, JHU led a multifaceted community engagement process that included numerous stakeholder meetings, a series of public discussions and open forums, and online resources for Hopkins students, faculty, staff, and neighbors. We also researched national best practices in 21st-century policing and consulted experts on public safety, root causes of crime, and violence reduction. Our review of these materials, as well as our findings, can be found in our Interim Study on Approaches to Improving Public Safety on and around Johns Hopkins University Campuses.

After careful consideration of community input and our research, we made the decision to seek state legislation to establish a small, community-oriented and research-backed university police department—one that is authorized by the state, accountable to the public, and subject to state and local government oversight. Our university police department proposal is incorporated into SB 793, and we believe that it will uphold the highest standards of transparent, constitutional, equitable, and community-based policing.

We also recognize that nonsecurity interventions are an essential component of any public safety strategy and are pleased that this legislation includes a series of proposals to help address the root causes of crime through investments in community development, youth engagement, and economic opportunity. This comprehensive approach to public safety will support our communities while also making a significant contribution to the safety of our city and the neighborhoods around our campuses.

Once the bill text is available on the General Assembly’s website, we will post it on the Public Safety Initiatives website along with additional resources and information. We hope you will take a moment to read the proposed legislation and review these resources, including our Interim Study report, a comprehensive FAQ, crime data, and videos of the public discussion series and community forums from the fall. You can also access the bill summary and check its status on the Maryland General Assembly’s website.

Now that this legislation has been introduced, there will be a public hearing in the Senate committee to which this bill has been referred. All committee hearings are recorded and livestreamed, and members of the public will have the opportunity to provide oral and written testimony. The feedback option on our website will continue to be available throughout the legislative session, and we will post relevant documents and information online as they become available.

If the Community Safety and Strengthening Act passes the Maryland General Assembly and is signed into law, the next phase of the process will be for Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Police Department to begin negotiating the memorandum of understanding (MOU), with input from the community. Opportunities for community input include at least two public forums that will be hosted by Johns Hopkins—one in the Homewood campus area, the other in East Baltimore—and public posting of a draft MOU for a 30-day review and comment period. After comments are received and considered, the revised MOU will be finalized and posted on our public safety website.

We remain dedicated to ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the legislative and MOU process, and we welcome your continued engagement and input as we move forward.


Sunil Kumar
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Johns Hopkins University

Daniel Ennis
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
Johns Hopkins University

Robert Kasdin
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer
Johns Hopkins Medicine