Branville Bard Jr. will serve as the first chief of the Johns Hopkins Police Department, the university said on Thursday.

Bard has worked as vice president for public safety for Hopkins since 2021.

“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,” Bard said in a statement.

The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill in 2019 to allow Johns Hopkins to start its own police department. But the university temporarily put that plan on hold following the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis.

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Some students, faculty and community members have long opposed the creation of a private, armed police force that could patrol certain areas and make arrests for some crimes.

A Baltimore Banner investigation in 2022 found that violent crime within the borders of Hopkins’ three campuses either stayed flat or declined between 2018 and 2021.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Jeffrey M. Geller last month threw out a lawsuit from three people — Donald Gresham, Kushan Ratnayake and Joan Floyd — who sought to invalidate a key agreement necessary for Hopkins to develop its police force. They have appealed the decision, according to online court records.

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