Yesterday, the Baltimore City Senate Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly voted to approve legislation that will allow Johns Hopkins University to establish its own private police force. The City House Delegation was scheduled to vote this morning, but it appears they have postponed that vote.
If this legislation is ultimately approved, Johns Hopkins will be the first private university in Baltimore to have its own police force. Hopkins officials say that a campus police force would help them address concerns about crime near their campuses, respond to active shooters and protect students, teachers and staff more effectively. But opponents are concerned that a Hopkins police force would not be accountable to the public and are worried that police would engage in racial profiling.
What would a Hopkins police force mean for Baltimore? Would it deepen a divide between the University and the community, or will it bring Hopkins closer to its neighbors in Charles Village, Mt. Vernon and East Baltimore?
Rianna Matthews-Brown is the Director of University Initiatives for Johns Hopkins.
Antero Pietila is a former Baltimore Sun reporter and the author of The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins: The Life and Legacy That Shaped an American City.
Lester Spence is an associate professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University.
This conversation was lived streamed on the WYPR Facebook page.