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Johns Hopkins University plans to develop a private police force

Johns Hopkins University is facing backlash after releasing a draft of its memorandum of understanding with the Baltimore Police Department.

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Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is facing backlash after releasing a draft of its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Baltimore Police Department. 

Both departments will have authority to patrol the ‘campus area,’ which means any area owned, leased, or operated by Hopkins within its three Baltimore campuses; The Homewood Campus, The East Baltimore Campus, and The Peabody campus. Also, sidewalk, street, or parking facility. 

The MOU further explains that Johns Hopkins Police Department will respond to incidents within the stipulated regions, and the Baltimore Police Department will focus on more serious crimes; rape and murder. 

Hopkins is open to feedback from the community, But many JHU students, university and medical employees, and members of the Baltimore community are opposed to even attending town hall meetings. 

Twitter threads have since erupted. “Over the last year, meeting after draining meeting, Hopkins has failed to adequately respond to or address community concerns,” the thread read. “We refuse to waste our time and energy on those who have no intention of listening. Instead, Hopkins needs to stop its charade of caring about community input. And it needs to put an end to this violent project,” as reported by Inside Higher ED

However, this plan was started in 2018 but halted in 2020 after nationwide protests of police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. Many found the halt to be offensive since the institution should not incorporate a police force given how the efforts being made to pass statewide police reforms. 

The Baltimore Police Department has been under  scrutiny for its reputation for corruption and impropriety. Jayla Scott, President of Hopkins’s Black Student Union, expressed her concerns to Inside Higher ED stating “If JHPD is suppose(d) to be this superior police force that is setting the standard for police accountability across the country, how can they do that while heavily being involved with one of the most corrupt police forces in the nation(?).” A valid question that further affects the way students will be able to trust Hopkins’ ability to keep them safe. 

Let's not forget that the Baltimore Police Department has had officers involved in stealing drugs and money and the death of Freddie Gray, an African American man who died while in police custody in 2015, and six officers were not convicted.

 

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