Alumnus, major donor Michael Bloomberg wants private, armed police force patrolling Johns Hopkins University | 1/23/2019 | Staff
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Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York and benefactor of the Johns Hopkins University, said Tuesday it’s “ridiculous” the institution doesn’t have an armed police force.

“When you have a city that has the murder rate that Baltimore has, I think it’s ridiculous to think that they shouldn’t be armed,” Bloomberg said of the Hopkins security force.

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Bloomberg, a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, spoke to reporters after closed-door meetings at the State House in Annapolis with Democratic lawmakers and state Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Johns Hopkins is seeking approval from the General Assembly for a private police force to patrol the university campus in Homewood, the hospital campus in East Baltimore and the Peabody Institute in Mount Vernon. The proposal has support from some key leaders, including powerful Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, but has met with opposition from others.

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State Sen. Mary Washington, a Democrat whose Senate district includes the Homewood campus, has said she’s worried a campus police force at a private college such as Hopkins wouldn’t be accountable to the public — unlike similar police departments at public colleges.

She urged the university to come up with more creative ideas to solving Baltimore’s crime problem. Washington suggested Johns Hopkins sign a memorandum of understanding for a special unit of the Baltimore Police Department to patrol near the school.

Conversation - Mr - Bloomberg - Safety - Police

“I look forward to having a conversation with Mr. Bloomberg about how we can improve public safety without private police functions,” said Washington, who holds a doctoral degree from Hopkins.

Last session, Baltimore lawmakers backed off a proposal to approve a police force at Hopkins amid a community backlash against the idea. Lawmakers from three districts that are home to Hopkins’ schools and hospitals said they were inundated by concerns from constituents. Acknowledging missteps last year, Hopkins officials said they are...
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