Deep Racial Divide in Perceptions of Police and Reported Experiences, No Group Is Anti-Cop

At first glance Americans appear satisfied with their local law enforcement. However, below the surface reside many stark differences in attitudes toward the police across race/ethnicity, age, education, income, and ideological lines. In a new extensive national public opinion survey, Cato scholar Emily Ekins finds deep partisan and racial divides in perceptions of police efficacy, impartiality, integrity, empathy, tactics, and accountability. Comprehensively examining survey results, the report explores public priorities for policing, anxiety about crime, the impact of personal experiences with police and the judicial system, police misconduct, the use of force, perceptions of police accountability and integrity, and much more.

Stingray: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance

Police agencies around the United States are using a powerful surveillance tool known as a stingray to mimic cell phone signals to tap into the cellular phones of unsuspecting citizens, track the physical locations of those phones, and perhaps even intercept the content of their communications. In a new study, Cato scholar Adam Bates says that these cell phone trackers are only the vanguard: “Police technology will continue to become more expansive and powerful, and the longer it takes legislatures and courts to produce a legal framework capable of keeping up with technology and ensuring that constitutional rights are protected, the more threatening the surveillance state will become.”

Surveillance Takes Wing: Privacy in the Age of Police Drones

Law enforcement drones have clear benefits: allowing police to more easily find missing persons, suspects, and accident victims, for example. They also allow police to investigate dangerous situations such as bomb threats and toxic spills. Yet without strict controls on their use, drones could present a very serious threat to citizens’ privacy. In a new paper, Cato scholar Matthew Feeney suggests that lawmakers at the state and federal levels should implement policies that allow police to take advantage of drones while protecting privacy.

Cato Studies

Of Special Note

Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America

Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America

Ten years after the Supreme Court’s infamous eminent domain decision, Kelo v. New London, Timothy and Christina Sanderfur’s Cornerstone of Liberty examines how dozens of new developments in courtrooms and legislatures across the country have shifted the landscape of private property rights since 2005. Through a combination of real-life stories and solid legal analysis, the authors explain how key issues like eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, and environmental protection regulations have evolved and how they should be reformed.

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This new Cato project gathers reports of credible allegations of police misconduct so policymakers (and others) can make informed assessments of the nature and circumstances of police misconduct, and consider proposals that can minimize wrongdoing.

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Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

The State of American Criminal Justice

After another year of protests and unrest across the country, criminal justice reform remains a contentious issue. But, which reforms are the most urgent and what can we realistically expect to accomplish? To help answer these questions, the Cato Institute is presenting a conference that brings together experts from courtrooms, universities, prisons and police departments to examine policies and incentives, and to provide insights, strategies, and viable solutions to some of the most pressing criminal justice questions facing policymakers today at all levels of government.