By Jacqui Neber
News & Features Editor
Leroy James was recently appointed executive director of Campus Safety and Security. He is currently working on plans to offer better protection to students around campus, not only in response to the violence in Baltimore but to continued violence in Charles Village.
In the wake of last spring’s riots, the University has taken measures to increase students’ safety and security on campus. In the past few years, Hopkins has been taking steps to make campus safer for as well.
According to the University’s campus safety and security website, these steps include the installation of nearly 186 smart cameras to track activity around campus; increased foot, bike and Segway patrols; and increased access patrol in residence halls.
James emphasized that the actions taken regarding safety and security on campus fluctuate in relation to the proximity of violence to campus, as exemplified last spring.
“The Office of Campus Safety and Security took protective staffing measures to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff as a result of heightened concerns emanating for the unpredictable nature of the unrest in Baltimore this past spring,” James wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
When asked about campus safety and security’s primary goal in responding to the riots, James made it clear that the actions of Hopkins safety officers first and foremost serve University students. These actions include keeping tabs on violence occurring throughout Baltimore and tailoring their responses to ensure the safety of Hopkins students throughout the city.
“The primary goal of Campus Safety and Security was to monitor the events occurring around the city, and then to take action to protect our community, and ensure a safe environment for all of the University’s campuses,” James wrote.
The violence that occurred in Baltimore last spring was, according to many news outlets, unprecedented. While the city has quieted since the spring, James emphasized that campus safety and security remains attentive.
“We are in a posture of vigilance right now, monitoring any developments in regard to pretrial proceedings in the Freddie Gray court case,” James wrote. “We are helping to alert the University community about the likelihood of traffic issues near the courthouse downtown and we will keep close watch for any other developments that could affect our students, faculty and staff.”
Switching gears, James discussed his goals for the year as new executive director for Campus Safety and Security. He credits his predecessors with laying a solid foundation for safety and security and said he hopes to improve upon their successes. Increased use of technology to help keep students safe is a large part of his plan.
“My main goal for the new academic year is to work with our students, faculty, and staff to ensure a safe university environment. I plan to also work on leveraging security related technology to better enable students to communicate with the Office of Campus Safety and Security,” James wrote.
Further building partnerships with organizations and foundations that are closely connected to the city of Baltimore is also high on James’ list of goals.
“Lastly, I am looking forward to building partnerships with groups on and off campus in our ongoing effort to help the University create safe spaces in those areas most frequented by our students,” he wrote.
James said he believes last spring’s violence in Baltimore has brought a new awareness to the Hopkins community. He said Hopkins students seem to be more aware of their actions on and around campus and more vigilant in their approach to keeping themselves safe.
He appeared to regard this as a positive change in the University community and student body.
“I do believe that a majority of our students think about their safety on and off campus, particularly in light of the activity in Baltimore,” James wrote.
Before coming to Hopkins, James served as the chief of police and executive director for Safety and Security at Howard University.
In addition to AlliedBarton security officers performing a variety of tasks to patrol the campus, Hopkins Campus Safety and Security has 55 full-time and four part-time special police officers throughout all university property in Maryland.