Although Americans are open to police using new technologies, they are wary of military equipment. A majority-54%-of Americans says police using military weapons and armored vehicles is “going too far” while 46% say these tools are “necessary for law enforcement purposes.”
Majorities across racial groups oppose police militarization. Support for police militarization comes from older Americans, conservative Republicans, and those with high school educations or less. Americans over 65 years old support police using military weapons and armored vehicles by a margin of 61% to 39%. However, support for police militarization declines to 43% among those under 55, with 57% opposed. People with high school degrees or less are also more supportive (51%) of police militarization compared to those with college degrees (42%).
Conservatives and Republicans stand out in supporting police militarization. A majority of Republicans (65%) support police using military weapons and armored vehicles, while majorities of Democrats (60%) and independents (60%) oppose. Among ideological groups, Conservatives (60%) and Communitarians (51%) say police militarization is necessary today, while strong majorities of Liberals (75%) and Libertarians (60%) say it goes too far.69
69 See Appendix A for an explanation of ideological clusters.