Who would hold a Hopkins police force accountable?

The Sun states in a recent editorial that allowing Johns Hopkins University to have a sworn, armed police force “is a reasonable response to security concerns” and takes Hopkins to task for a bungled process in its attempt to have legislation passed last year (“What Hopkins needs to do to win community support for a police force,” Dec. 19).

However, the editorial does not mention one of the issues that was the basis for opposition from the community – that is, the difference between private and public police and the difference between “accountability” and control. While the terms of this year’s proposal have not yet been made public, the president of Hopkins, at a meeting on Nov. 13, referred to crimes that had taken place off-campus in the community as justifying the need for the new police force.

Therefore, it is likely that the new proposal will again create the potential for Baltimore City residents to encounter police in our neighborhoods who are armed with guns, arrest powers, and the protections of The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, but who do not have answer to elected officials. At a time when many people want greater citizen control over the police, this would be a major step in the wrong direction. It is not acceptable for residents of Baltimore City to be policed in our public streets by armed people whose ultimate supervisor we cannot vote out of office.

Winifred De Palma, Baltimore

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