Branville Bard Jr. has been named Johns Hopkins University's new Vice President for Public Safety.
Beginning Aug. 30, Bard will oversee security operations for all Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine campuses and facilities worldwide, with the exception of the Applied Physics Laboratory.
“Dr. Bard has a stellar, decades-long track record as an effective, community-oriented law enforcement professional and as an outspoken and passionate advocate for social justice, racial equity, and police reform,” University President Ron Daniels, Paul Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Kevin W. Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a message to the Johns Hopkins community. “His commitment to developing progressive approaches to public safety made him a clear choice.”
A committee of students, community members, faculty and staff identified Bard through a national search, informed by extensive outreach to internal and external stakeholders about the skills, experience, and perspective needed for this position.
“Throughout my career I have held to a simple but powerful belief that the most important responsibilities of police are to protect the public and to defend the individual constitutional rights of the citizenry they are sworn to serve,” Bard said. “We do not have to choose between being safer and sacrificing civil liberties. With a public safety system centered on procedural and social justice, and grounded in listening to the community’s needs, we can do both.”
Bard is currently police commissioner of Cambridge, Mass., where he has regularly encountered the issues and public safety challenges associated with campus environments and health care facilities. Among many accomplishments during his tenure, he established the department’s family and social justice section to address the needs of vulnerable members of the community who are better served through a social justice approach, including juveniles, homeless individuals, the elderly, and those experiencing mental health and substance use disorders. He brought in the department’s first child psychologist to connect Cambridge youth and their families with mental health services, and its first recovery coach to help address challenges presented by the opioid epidemic.
Most recently, he launched a departmentwide effort to proactively monitor data on police-citizen interactions for indications of possible racial profiling or biased policing, and to make that information available through near real-time updates to a public dashboard.
Before joining the Cambridge department, Bard ascended through the ranks of the police department in his native Philadelphia, culminating in the leadership of the city’s largest police district, where he oversaw both reductions in crime and improvements in police-community relations. He was subsequently recruited to serve as chief of police and director of public safety for the Philadelphia Housing Authority Police Department, the fourth-largest such agency in the nation.
Bard earned both a doctorate of public administration and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Valdosta State University where his dissertation focused on strategies to eliminate racial profiling. He also earned a master’s degree in public safety management from St. Joseph’s University. He has been recognized with numerous awards and citations.