Kudos to Johns Hopkins University for restarting its effort to professionalize its police force by hiring Branville Bard Jr. as vice president for public safety (”Hopkins police force: Let’s have an honest conversation,” July 28).
The city’s few but vocal anti-police activists will surely renew their misguided campaign against this effort, but as a resident of Charles Village and affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, I can attest that most of my neighbors and colleagues well understand that our city is under-policed and that our stratospheric violent crime rate disproportionately harms its minority residents.
Perhaps we Baltimoreans have simply become numb to the problem. Our homicide rate last year was 56.5 murders per 100,000 population — fully 67 times higher than in Cambridge, Massachusetts, (0.84 per 100,000) where Mr. Bard is police commissioner. In a city that is understaffed to the tune of 300-to-400 cops, the university’s effort will not only enhance the safety of those at its hospital and on the Homewood campus, but will benefit the entire city by enabling some of its too-limited resources to focus efforts elsewhere.
The praise for Mr. Bard from Cambridge elected officials also make clear that he is the right person for this job. Baltimoreans should welcome him with open arms and recruit more people like him.
Stephen Walters, Baltimore
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