The Charles Koch Institute and the Police Foundation released a new survey in October that examines the public’s current perception of police-community relations. The hope is that with deeper insight into this issue police departments can use this information to work with their communities to develop local solutions that will promote public safety.
The survey was distributed before the Institute’s Advancing Justice Summit: An Agenda for Human Dignity and Public Safety on October 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.
The results of the October 2017 Police Community Relations Poll found:
Americans see interactions with police getting worse across the nation, but not necessarily in their own communities.
When asked about interactions nationwide, only 12 percent said they were getting better and 50 percent said they were getting worse.
When asked about peoples’ interactions with police in their own community, 19 percent said they were getting better, 19 percent said they were getting worse, and 56 percent said they were about the same.
Thirty-six percent of black respondents feel that interactions between police and citizens are getting worse.
A vast majority of people (70 percent) felt that police in their community are respectful of citizens’ rights. Nineteen percent of all respondents felt that police were not respectful of citizens’ rights, and 11 percent were not sure. Black respondents were much more evenly divided (44 percent respectful, 44 percent not respectful, 12 percent not sure).
Across the board, the public wants to work with police and to be part of the solution. Sixty-nine percent of all respondents felt the public should have input in the creation of police rules and policies.
Overwhelmingly, the majority of respondents feel that the role of police is to be a constant presence in the community to prevent crime (70 percent), compared to their role being responding to crime when it happens (22 percent).
“What this means is that we should encourage police departments to make community relations a priority and to work on establishing police officers as a friendly presence within the community,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation. “It is also an opportunity for us to look at how we can showcase local solutions like community policing to fuel national change.”