Read a PDF of our statement here.

As Maryland General Assembly committees continue to consider Senate Bill 793 and House Bill 1094, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted written testimony today opposing the bills, which would authorize Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to establish its own private police force based on a memorandum of understanding with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). While the bills would offer much needed monetary support for community development and youth programs, LDF maintains that the potential harm stemming from the bills far outweigh any potential benefits.

Last year, LDF wrote a letter to JHU President Ron Daniels opposing similar legislation and engaged in productive conversations regarding the issues with a private police force. While SB 793 and HB 1094 include more information about how the proposed JHU campus police would operate, they raise new questions and fail to address several of our previous concerns. In particular, these bills:

  • Will maintain the status quo by restricting the ability of a JHU police force to intervene in violent crimes, making a change to state law unnecessary and unjustified;
  • Will allow JHU to needlessly expand the number and jurisdiction of armed campus officers without the explicit requirement that it comply with the accountability measures detailed in the federal consent decree issued in United States v. Police Department of Baltimore City.

LDF’s letter adds:

“We echo the fears of community members, who have assembled in opposition to a JHU campus police force, that any new campus police may lead to an increase in incidents of racial profiling and an influx of firearms on campus. It is imperative that other approaches be explored before opting for the most drastic and high-risk measure.”

Read LDF’s testimony here.

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

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