Americans Are Not “Anti-Cop”

Although some groups have less favorable attitudes toward the police, additional findings in the survey suggest these groups are not “anti-cop.” First, few individuals have outright “unfavorable” views of the police. Only, 12% of Hispanics, 13% of whites, and 19% of African-Americans have an “unfavorable” view. Instead, African Americans (40%) and Hispanics (28%) are more likely than whites (18%) to feel conflicted and report neutral rather than positive or negative feelings toward the police.

In addition, majorities agree on what law enforcement’s top priorities ought to be: investigating violent and property crime and protecting people from crime. Furthermore, being “anti-cop” should lead a person to want fewer police in a community. But no group wishes to decrease the number of police officers in their communities (about 9 in 10 oppose). Instead, about half of blacks, whites, and Hispanics favor maintaining present levels and more than a third say their community needs more officers.


Notes:

12 Some have claimed that individuals critical of policing practices, or those who have negative feelings toward the police, are also anti-cop; see Matt Wilstein, “ ‘Daily Show’s’ Trevor Noah on Police Shootings: ‘You Can Be Pro-Cop and Pro-Black’,” Daily Beast, July 8, 2016, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/08/daily-show-s-trevor-noah-on-police-shootings-you-can-be-pro-cop-and-pro-black.html.

13 To be sure, advocates of shrinking police departments are not necessarily “anti-cop” either; however, it’s difficult to argue a person is if they do not want to cut the police force.


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