Johns Hopkins University’s vice president for public safety, Branville Bard Jr., will serve as the first-ever chief of the Johns Hopkins Police Department.

Plans to create the police force have been met with repeated opposition from many Hopkins students, staff and community members.

Bard has worked as Hopkins’ vice president of public safety since 2021. His duties will now include the establishment of JHPD policies, procedures, and staffing. 

“I am humbled and honored to share that I have been asked to serve as the inaugural chief of police for the JHPD,” Bard said in a statement. “From policies and procedures, to hiring and training, I will be present to make sure that the details in our founding principles are grounded in building community trust and ongoing opportunities for input.”  

Protesters shut down an in-person town hall in September 2022 to discuss the possibility of armed police on campus. The meeting was moved online, during which Bard said “We’re here to ensure that you get both constitutional policing but the services that you deserve from Public Safety at Hopkins.”

Less than one year later, JHU has moved forward with the police force, placing Bard in a position to now oversee a law enforcement agency that is “based in accountability, transparency, and community engagement,” university officials said.

During Bard’s time with Hopkins, he has helped launch a $6 million fund to support community-driven public safety. Additionally, Hopkins has created a Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team in which clinicians are paired with trained security officials to assist individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. 

Moving forward, Bard will also assist with the implementing memorandum of understanding with the Baltimore Police Department and the Maryland Community Safety and Strengthening Act of 2019, which allows Hopkins to establish a police department and outlines jurisdiction and duties with the Baltimore Police.

Prior to working for Hopkins, Bard served as police commissioner for the Cambridge Police Department in Massachusetts and spent 24 years working for the Philadelphia Police Department. 

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Latrice Hill

Latrice Hill is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate who loves all the great things this city has to offer. She worked with WMAR 2-News as an Assignment Desk Editor before she joined...

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1 Comment

  1. The authorization of Hopkins to start a police department is untenable. The current state of police and community relations, especially in Baltimore does not need yet another police department for a community that is already over policed. Hopkins has been gentrifying Baltimore for decades, and this is another tool to further marginalize people of color. Having a minority police chief is not going to engender trust from the community.

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