Jon Walter, Hopkins’s newest Student/Community Liaison, began his training this past weekend under the supervision of the beloved, outgoing liaison, Carrie Bennett. Walter patrolled campus both Thursday and Saturday nights.
As a recently retired Baltimore police officer of 22 years, Walter has extensive experience with the requirements of his new job.
He previously worked as a community liaison for the Northern district, and thus has dealt with college students and nearby residents before.
Walter’s training process involves two consecutive weekends of being escorted around campus by and answering calls with Bennett.
Bennett will continue to train Walter this coming Thursday and Friday.
“The training process consists of spending time with him and relaying my opinions about the job” Bennett said. “I’m not teaching him, just orientating him to the innermost Hopkins circle.”
Students, Bennett and Walter all agree that the first weekend was a success. “I think it went well. There weren’t a lot of calls, but he got to see one or two parties that we had to respond to and met an awful lot of students,” Bennett said.
Sophomore Michelle Bohrson agreed that Walter’s first weekend went well.
“There definitely seemed to be less police around this weekend. I don’t think anything got broken up,” Bohrson said.
Although the liaison position can sometimes involve challenges and difficult situations, according to Bennett, the only issue this weekend was getting Walter set up with the necessary J-Card, phone and other equipment for the job.
Since the recent departure of the “Shush Lady” there has been a larger police presence in Charles Village on the weekends. The foremost responsibility of the Student/Community Liaison is to prevent residents who might have noise complaints or other issues with the parties from going to police.
If a local has an issue with a party, they can call the community liaison, who will respond to the issue.
Students have already deemed Walter the “Shush Lord”, a play on Bennett’s nickname the “Shush Lady.”
“I was impressed with the students. They were very receptive to me taking over for Carrie who did a tremendous job as the liaison,” Walter wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Students seem to be responding well to Walter’s presence on campus.
“I always felt like we were in really capable hands with Carrie and since she approves of him so greatly it gives me a lot of hope that he’ll try to fill the very big shoes,” sophomore Arafel Buzan said.
In fact, Walter already has a twitter account (@ShushLord) with over 180 followers.
Maintaining connections to the student body through social media is a critical part of the community liaison opinion. During her time in the position, Bennett has communicated with the student body through a blog (shushlady.com), a twitter account (@ShushLady) and through the exchange of mobile numbers.
Walter’s initial success as the newest community liaison reflects the careful consideration put into his selection for the position.
Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell worked with Bennett in choosing Walter as the newest liaison.
“We talked with many people at the university and asked for recommendations of people they knew who might be the right person for the job. Jon had the support of Security, Community Relations and Carrie herself as having the right background and personality for the position,” Boswell wrote in an email to The News-Letter.