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Gallup Survey: Black Americans Want Police to Retain Local Presence

Well this certainly runs counter to the national media narrative. Here’s the new Gallup survey, which Gallup says included large samples of Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans, weighted to their correct proportions of the population.

When asked whether they want the police to spend more time, the same amount of time or less time than they currently do in their area, most Black Americans — 61% — want the police presence to remain the same. This is similar to the 67% of all U.S. adults preferring the status quo, including 71% of White Americans.

Meanwhile, nearly equal proportions of Black Americans say they would like the police to spend more time in their area (20%) as say they’d like them to spend less time there (19%).

It shouldn’t really surprise us. The safety of our family and our property isn’t a political issue — until some push to make it a political issue. It doesn’t mean, however, that African-Americans don’t have specific concerns about police interaction. From the same Gallup survey:

Fewer than one in five Black Americans feel very confident that the police in their area would treat them with courtesy and respect. While similar to the 24% of Asian Americans saying the same, it is markedly lower than the 40% of Hispanic Americans and the 56% of White Americans who feel this way.

This is a disparity we should work together to address. We can, and should, root out bad cops and improve community policing. As JLF CEO Amy Cooke detailed earlier this year:

  • Bad apples: Allow law enforcement agencies to share internal investigation reports to prevent “bad apples” from being hired at another agency that is unaware of the officer’s record.

  • Additional anti-bias and proper use of force training including chokeholds: this will come at a cost but is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

  • Keep workplace freedom in place: Resist collective bargaining for public sector employees. Law enforcement agencies with the biggest problems are almost always large metropolitan, unionized departments that protect “bad apples” through union contracts.

But defund police? Reduce their presence? That’s the wrong — and dangerous — answer.

Donna Martinez / VP of Marketing and Communications

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...

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