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Johns Hopkins University fights to have own police force

Request comes as crime increases at the university
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Posted at 1:22 PM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 17:30:37-05

They tried it last session and pulled it. Now Johns Hopkins University officials are restarting the process to fight for their own police force, asking the Baltimore City Council for support Thursday. 

Officials with the biggest employer in the city say they want to change the equation and decrease crime on their campuses. President Ronald Daniels told the council at a luncheon that despite increasing private security funding, armed robberies and other crime still remain stubbornly high, keeping potential students and patients away. 

"We have heard more than a few stories that other institutions are playing up the challenges of Baltimore and discouraging their patients to come to Baltimore for treatment," Daniels said. "It's a real tragedy when people can't take advantage of these services because they fear for their security."

This is not the first time the school has asked for its own force. Last year the school pulled its bill for a new force because of backlash that it was late and rushed, but with the uptick in crime, they say it is time to make a change. 

One of their prospective employees who came to the school was even attacked. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who represents the district that the university is in, recognizes the need to do something. 

"I know about those crime numbers very upfront and personally. We have problems. The question is does this mitigate and reduce the problems," Clarke said. 

And while the school says they have more private security, they say it is no longer a deterrent by itself. They say crime are now 24/7 and criminals around their campuses are incredibly more brazen. That's why they are looking to the council and community for support and guidance to create a police force of 100 sworn-in officers.

“We have come to the point where we have to protect our students, our staff and our patients,” Daniels said.

"They're meeting with community groups now to get input, what people want or don't want," Clarke said. "They are doing everything they can this time around to do it in stage, to listen, to reflect." 

Daniels says a comprehensive report should be out before Christmas and those results will shape legislation he plans to draft in January.