Johns Hopkins University private police force bill moves forward

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 07:57:09-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — University of Maryland, Towson University, and Morgan State University all have their own dedicated police force.

RELATED: City delegation votes in support of Johns Hopkins having police force

Lawmakers in Annapolis are looking into approving a private police force for Johns Hopkins University and the Hopkins facilities. Hopkins is a private school therefore it will not be under a state run police force that are guided by Maryland law. Some believe that lends to over policing and corruption.

"There is so much in this legislation about accountability, complaints and reviews. They go before the trial board that has civilian members, there's three different boards that are going to oversee this," said Senator Bobby Zirkin.

Even with oversight and transparency supporters say are in the bill, freshman Senator Washington believes this police force would could overstep their power and spill into the community as well.

"What power does the local Harwood Association have to contest if it feels like it's being targeted or over-policing or if one of their officers does something wrong?," said Senator Washington.

Johns Hopkins is a more than $7 billion entity, the largest employer in Baltimore between the University and the hospital system. Since it's surrounded by a city struggling to keep crime and violence at bay, some students still have a problem with a school police force.

"It's a really dangerous precedence with how we deal with public safety now that anyone that can afford a private police force can do so," said Andrea Frasier, a JHU student.

"The universities in the city and our state flagship and so forth all have their own private police force. I get it that this is a private university but, I would say that we are simple putting a major university in with the University of Maryland and Towson and all the rest," said Senator Zirkin.