Jon Walter, a retired Baltimore City Police Officer will replace Carrie Bennett as the new Hopkins Student/Community Liaison. He will begin training with Bennett this weekend and will take over the position himself in October.
Walter is not new to acting as a liaison between universities and the community. He worked as a Community Relations Officer with the Baltimore City Police Department for over 20 years before retiring.
“I feel this is just a continuation of what I have already been working on, just from a different perspective (not the law enforcement role),” Walter wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Walter’s role as the Student/Community Liaison will help to ensure good relations between Hopkins students and the larger Charles Village.
“This is a key position that helps both students and community members maintain good relationships with each other,” Susan Boswell, the Dean of Student Life, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
“This person in this position is on site at times when difficult situations are occurring and is often able to de-escalate them.” Bennett strongly believes that the Student/Community Liaison position is integral in mitigating clashes between the students and the community members who occupy the same areas. The liaison is also critical in Hopkins’ efforts in educating students on how to be respectful of the outside community.
“I think that the University’s commitment to having someone available to educate and assist these 5,000 students on becoming valued members of the community has been the key to how much progress we have made in the last decade,” Bennett wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Bennett assisted Hopkins in the search for her replacement.
“Dean Susan Boswell and I did discuss ideas about where to look for a replacement (e.g. the campus police, the city police, etc.),” Bennett wrote.
She was excited to learn that Walter was being considered for the Student/Community Liaison position, as Walter was one of her mentors at the Baltimore Police Department.
“Jon has decades of experience working in this neighborhood, working in community relations and handling town/gown issues,” Bennett wrote.
In addition to his experience, Bennett believes Walter’s temperament will be an asset to the position.
“Jon is also very level-headed, which comes in handy at 3 a.m. when the neighbors are angry and the students are drunk,” Bennett wrote.
“It takes a certain level of patience and panache to be able to sort out the problems, work on getting them remedied as fast as possible while keeping your cool.” Boswell also praises Walter.
“Jon has a good understanding of what is needed in the position and is very much looking forward to working with students as well as community members,” Susan Boswell, the Dean of Student Life, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Walter hopes to continue Bennett’s legacy in the future and maintain a solid relationship between Hopkins and the Charles Village communities.
“I already know many of the community residents, so I would like to bridge the gap between college students and the community to resolve any issues,” Walter wrote.
Bennett will assist with Walter’s transition into the Student/Community Liaison position.
By the beginning of October, Walter will be fully assimilated into his new role.
Bennett hopes to introduce everyone to Walter while they are on patrol over the next few weekends.
“I hope that students and student leaders who wish to be introduced to Jon in the next two weekends will either text me or stop by while we are on patrol,” Bennett wrote. “I look forward to seeing everybody these next two weekends.”