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I feel unsafe walking through the community to get to my Hopkins job

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York and major donor to Johns Hopkins, talks with reporters at the Maryland State House Tuesday about having an armed police force for the hospital and university. (Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun video)

I read your recent story (“Despite intensive lobbying effort, Johns Hopkins private police legislation faces uncertain future,” Feb. 8) and feel the need to speak out for myself and on behalf of many of my colleagues at the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore Medical Campus in support of SB 793.

I have worked at Johns Hopkins Medicine for more than 15 years. Every day, I walk a quarter mile through the campus on the way to my office, and every day I experience anxiety simply trying to get to work. I feel fear daily, hoping I don’t wind up in the crossfire of the shootings, stabbings or carjackings that have become tragically commonplace in this community.

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I proudly served in the U.S. Army for four years. I know how to survey my surroundings to recognize potential harm. But the anxiety of not feeling properly protected is terrible. Without a dedicated police force, I do what I can to protect myself. I walk the same path so I can memorize residents’ faces and pattern of life. I hide my badge and change my clothes so I’m not targeted for robberies. I wear tennis shoes so I have the ability to run out of harm’s way. But I cannot do this alone. It doesn’t need to be this way.

More must be done to protect our community and our place of work. An accountable police force will give Johns Hopkins the ability to better protect its employees and visitors – including the patients we treat every day. I strongly support SB 793.

Stacey Marks

The writer is a program manager at Johns Hopkins University.

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