In an era of “shoot first, ask questions later, ” 56 percent of Americans say local police departments using drones, military weapons, and armored vehicles goes too far and is not necessary for law enforcement purposes, according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll. Thirty-nine percent believe these weapons are necessary for law enforcement purposes.
Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents say such tactics go too far, though Republicans (53 percent) are slightly less likely than Democrats and independents (both 60 percent) to share this belief.
Republicans and Tea Partiers Are Split on Police Militarization
A significant difference emerges between tea party supporters and Republicans who do not support the movement. Just like Democrats, 60 percent of tea party supporters say militarization of the police is going too far, compared to 48 percent of regular Republicans. In fact, Republicans who are not tea party supporters are evenly split with another 48 percent who think the police do need drones, military weapons and armored vehicles to protect the public.
Sixty-seven percent of African-Americans think these police tactics go too far, and 60 percent of Hispanics and 57 percent of Caucasians agree. Men and women are equally likely to say such tactics go too far (59 percent and 58 percent, respectively).
“FBI, Medical Experts Pin Kelly Thomas’ Brutal Death on Police Beating,” “The Madness of Law Enforcement's Escalating Brutality” and “Cop Fires Shots at Minivan Full of Kids After Mom Flees Traffic Stop” are just a few of Reason.com’s recent headlines reflecting abuses within law enforcement.
Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.