The Maryland Senate on Thursday gave the green light for Johns Hopkins to form an armed police force to patrol its university and hospital campuses in Baltimore.
The 42-2 vote came without any debate. The two votes against the bill came from Baltimore’s Sen. Jill Carter and Sen. Mary Washington, who have repeatedly expressed concerns about the legislation.
At every step of the process, Carter and Washington have unsuccessfully tried to change the bill, including at a meeting of the city’s senators, in a Senate committee and before the full Senate.
They raised concerns about privatizing public safety and whether the Johns Hopkins force would be trusted by Hopkins students, faculty and neighbors.
Johns Hopkins officials requested the legislation because, as a private entity, it is not currently authorized to have a police force. Many of the state’s public universities have police forces, including Morgan State University, Coppin State University and the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
The bill would permit Hopkins to have 100 officers to patrol its academic campus in Baltimore’s Homewood neighborhood, the Peabody Institute in Mount Vernon and the hospital campus in East Baltimore.
The bill also would require the state to spend millions of dollars each year on community programs. Hopkins would be required to set up a Police Athletic League center.
The bill now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. A companion bill in the House has been endorsed by Baltimore’s delegates and is awaiting further votes.