WASHINGTON, D.C – A new Gallup poll conducted earlier this month with results released Monday surprisingly reveals the level of respect for local police in America reached its highest peak since 1967.
The poll result showed 76 percent of Americans said they have a “great deal” of respect for their local police. This result is 12 percent higher than that of last year, Gallup report says. The result came out despite the strain on police-community relations amidst the ongoing protests over officer-involved-shootings of black men across the nation.
“The sharp increase over the past year in professed respect for local law enforcement comes as many police say they feel they are on the defensive—both politically and for their lives while they are on duty—amid heated national discussions on police brutality and shootings,” writes Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy.
Laurie Robinson, a criminology professor at George Mason University who co-chaired President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing said, “The optimist in me thinks it’s more than just a knee-jerk rallying and really has to do with reflection on what the role of police should be and the complex challenges they face,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, the poll shows that Americans understand that videos of police killing people aren’t the whole picture, that there are incidents where things go horribly wrong and that policing in the U.S. is the best in the world.
Mr. Johnson also said the killings of police officers had “an eye-opening effect on the American public, especially in Dallas where the officers are protecting antipolice protesters and are gunned down.”
However, there’s a racial difference in viewpoints toward police. The Gallup poll revealed 67 percent of nonwhites say they have a great deal of respect for local police, compared with 80 percent of whites. Despite the disparities, both results are still higher than that of last year which is 53 percent for non-whites and 69 percent for whites.
Since 2000, whites have been more likely than nonwhites to say they respect local law enforcement.
Aside from the increases across racial groups, respect for local police has increased among most political parties, ideology, and age groups. It has also improved among city, suburban, and rural area residents.
According to McCarthy, it’s unclear whether the spike in respect for police will have staying power or if it reflects mostly a reaction to the retaliatory killings against police officers last summer.
Overall, majorities of all groups say they have a great deal of respect for their local police, although there are varying results among subgroups. And the percentage of national adults who say they have “hardly any” respect for local law enforcement remains small.
Left unsaid is the influence pro-law enforcement segments have had with favorable reports of the police on social media. The active voice in the press has expanded dramatically, and readers of LET, among others, have been able to tell a truthful story that should rally decent minded people behind local cops.
Photo by Antoinette Alcazar