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Johns Hopkins University takes step toward establishing a private police force

Johns Hopkins University takes step toward establishing a private police force
Johns Hopkins University takes step toward establishing a private police force 02:08

BALTIMORE -- Johns Hopkins University has published draft policies and procedures that could govern their private police force. 

On Thursday, the university stated that Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, students, and community members can submit online comments about the proposed operational blueprints for the Johns Hopkins Police Department over a 60-day period.

So far, the drafts encompass conduct, administrative, personnel, and operational procedures. 

Under those headers, for example, the proposed policies include the use of force, how to handle a person's immigration status, and how to interact with the LBGTQ+ community.

The university states the draft policies reflect national best practices when it comes to public safety and were developed in consultation with outside experts in "progressive policing." 

"Your continued feedback will directly inform the development of the JHPD and help ensure that we are building a community-oriented, transparent, and progressive police department" stated Branville Bard Jr., the Vice President of Public Safety and JHPD Chief of Police. "I look forward to reviewing your ideas and suggestions, and always welcome the opportunity to engage with you."

However, the development of the private police department comes hand-in-hand with pushback.

Previously, students have staged protestsdisrupted public meetings and a group called the 'Coalition Against Policing by Hopkins' filed a lawsuit over the Memorandum of Understanding between the Baltimore Police Department and JHPD. 

The memorandum draws jurisdictional boundaries between BPD and JHPD, organizes which agency responds to certain calls for service, and dictates when city police would lead an investigation.

"It's literally branding itself as a different part of the city," student Patrick Winguth said. "It's really not integrating at all within the city, and I think that the police force is just going to further that divide."  

However, others said with careful training and consideration of both on and off-campus community concerns, the private police force could aid in investigations. 

"I think everyone right now feels very comfortable with the security we have in place," student Lianne Saussy said. "It's just in those situations where really bad things do happen, it would be nice to have someone who could then come and respond to that and be able to help quicker than the Baltimore Police force could." 

During the public comment period, which ends on Nov. 20, the Public Safety Department will host two virtual 'Ask the Expert' forums to answer questions.

The sessions are slated for October and November; however, the dates and times are still being determined

Additional draft policies are expected to be released, the university stated. 

If you want to submit feedback, you can do so anonymously through an online portal

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