The Maryland General Assembly gave a bill that would allow the University to create its own private police force their final approval on Monday. Following this, University President Ronald J. Daniels and Dean of Medical Faculty Paul B. Rothman released a statement commenting on the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 793, titled the Community Safety and Strengthening Act. The Maryland House of Delegates voted 94-42 in favor of the bill, while the Senate voted 42-2 in favor.
In their statement, Daniels and Rothman explain that if the bill is signed into law, it will go into effect on July 1. They added that University administrators will start negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), as well as soliciting community input. After negotiating the MOU, the University could begin recruiting and training officers by late 2019 or early 2020.
Daniels and Rothman thanked both supporters and opponents of the bill for participating in the conversation around the bill. Opponents of the bill argue that it lacks transparency and that increasing security around campus raises the possibility of racial profiling.
“We have been appropriately challenged to listen closely to the concerns of all those we are here to serve. At your urging, we have sought to bring to bear best practices, expertise, and research as we worked to develop a sound set of strategies for approaching the challenge before us. We believe in the end that this legislation reflects an approach to university and community safety that we can be proud of at Johns Hopkins and in Baltimore,” the statement reads.