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Hopkins police force needed amid persistent violent crime

Students Against Private Police continues its efforts to oppose the creation of a Johns Hopkins University private police force. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

As crime in Baltimore City increased, the perception of an unsafe city has taken hold both locally and nationally. Consequently, Johns Hopkins University has dramatically increased investment in highly-visible safety patrols in its adjoining communities. A resident of Charles Village since 1970, I have witnessed Hopkins’ ever-increasing security effort, including hiring off-duty BPD and sheriff’s deputies. Yet problems with violent crime around Hopkins campuses persist.

Given the time required to correct the Baltimore Police Department operation under a federal consent decree and its desperate understaffing of trained officers, as noted in The Baltimore Sun, Hopkins faces the imperative to address this issue (“In key ways, Hopkins police would be more accountable than Baltimore police,” Feb. 14).

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At community forums, the Hopkins security officials, led by Vice President Melissa Hyatt, demonstrated an effective professional organization ready to administer operations appropriate for each campus and facility. An estimated 100 well-trained police officers across all campuses would work with the highest standards in close partnership with the Baltimore Police Department and be accountable to the community. This new department would replace the university’s current practice of hiring off-duty city officers, freeing officers to fill urgent city-wide public safety overtime needs.

Legislators should support the Johns Hopkins police department proposal to supplement the citywide public safety efforts. The numbers speak to the necessity— Dan Rodricks sums it up well (“Questions about a Hopkins police force are not ridiculous, but they don't win the argument, either,” Feb. 12).

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Sandy Sparks, Baltimore

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