Police

Survey of Police Finds Most Cops Believe Protesters Motivated by Anti-Police Sentiment, Incidents of Police Violence Are Isolated

Also finds unsurprising racial disparities in police attitudes

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Joe in DC/flickr

A new wide-ranging survey of police officers around the country from the the Pew Research Center reveals a vast majority believe that the focus by the media and protesters on incidents of police violence have made their job more difficult.

The Pew Research Center surveyed nearly 8,000 police officers from departments ranging in size from 100 officers to more than 2000. It also found police officers mellowing out on marijuana, with more than two-third believing laws against marijuana ought to be relaxed. Additionally on the prohibition front, more than two-thirds of police officers opposed a ban on "assault-style weapons" (while nearly two-thirds of Americans support one according to a different Pew survey, which contained many of the same questions, used by Pew to compare to the police survey).

More than 85 percent of all cops surveyed said high-profile incidents of police brutality have made their jobs harder—nearly 75 percent of respondents say highly publicized incidents of police brutality have increased tensions between police officers and black community, while 72 percent say cops in their department are "less willing to stop and question suspicious persons" (with the number as high as 86 percent of cops in departments with at least 2,600 police officers). Few cops (just 14 percent) said they thought the general public understood their risks at least somewhat well. By comparison, 83 percent of American adults insist they understood risks police faced. 87 percent of big city cops said interactions with black residents had become tenser, while 61 percent of cops in smaller departments agreed.

93 percent of cops said they worry more about their personal safety than they did before police violence became a national issue. Younger officers say they are more concerned about their safety than older cops do—46 percent of cops under the age of 45 they are seriously concerned about their physical safety at least often, while just 37 percent of cops 45 and older said the same. 63 police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2016, according to the Officers Down Memorial Page, an increase from 52 in 2015 and 31 in 2013, which was the lowest number of police officers recorded killed by gunfire since 1880. By comparison, in 2011, before police violence became a national issue and before the narrative of a "war on cops" was established, there were 68 police officers shot and killed in the line of duty, the highest number recorded since 1997. The small raw numbers mean small fluctuations appear as larger percentage shifts (2016 was 20 percent deadlier than 2015 for example by 8 percent less deadly than 2011). There are more than 750,000 sworn police officers in the United States.

A large majority of police officers—68 percent—say they believe protests against police violence are motivated in large part by anti-police bias. Just 10 percent told Pew they thought the protesters were motivated by genuine desire to hold cops accountable. Despite that, 72 percent of police officers agree that poorly performing police officers in their departments are not held accountable, while 53 percent aren't sure their disciplinary procedures are fair.

More than half of cops—56 percent—said they believed in certain neighborhoods being aggressive was a more effective tactic than being courteous, while 44 percent agreed that some people needed to be dealt with with "hard, physical tactics." Young cops were more likely to endorse aggression and physical violence than older cops.

Nevertheless, a full two-thirds of cops surveyed said they believed incidents of police violence were isolated incidents, the opposite of the general public, although 54 percent of black male officers and 63 percent of black female officers said they thought such incidents were indicative of broader problems. Pew notes that in a separate survey it found 60 percent of American adults said they believed incidents of police violence were not isolated but represented a broader problem. Two thirds of police officers supported the use of body camera, though nearly half of cops did not think body cams would make a difference. Half said it would increase the likelihood of cops acting appropriately.

Here and elsewhere Pew found unsurprising racial differences. Only 27 percent of white officers said they believed protesters were driven at least in part by a desire for police accountability, while nearly 70 percent of black police officers acknowledged as much. Older officers were also more likely to believe protesters were genuinely concerned than younger officers were. 63 percent of white cops said they would tell a colleague to break department protocol to do what is morally right—just 43 percent of black cops responded the same way.

More than 90 percent of white officers said the U.S. has done what was needed to secure equal rights for black citizens—just 29 percent of black cops agree. White cops were also more likely to have negative feelings about their jobs—54 percent said they're at least often frustrated by their jobs. 41 percent of black cops responded similarly. White officers are also more likely than black cops (36 percent vs 20 percent) to report getting into a struggle or fight with a suspect in the previous month—male cops are also more likely to report that than females (35 percent vs 22 percent). Just 27 percent of police officers reported ever having to fire their service weapon in the line of duty, and only 11 percent of female cops said they'd done so. 31 percent of white officers and 21 percent of black officers report ever having shot their firearm in the line of duty.

Police officers also complained about a lack of training—just 39 percent thought their employers were doing very well in training them, and just 37 percent thought their employers were communicating their job responsibilities clearly. About half of "rank-and-file" cops said they received at least four hours of shoot-don't shoot firearms training in the last year, with similar proportions reporting at least four hours of training on "nonlethal methods to control a combative or threatening individual" on dealing with mental health crises, and on de-escalation.

Nearly 80 percent of cops said they'd been thanked for their service in the last month (67 percent reported being verbally abused in the last month), and 58 percent said they felt proud of their work at least often, while 51 percent said they often felt frustrated by their work. Pew found some negative correlation between pride and frustration. 90 percent of cops who say they are rarely proud of their work report they are often or always frustrated by their jobs.

A full 91 percent of cops say police have at least a good relationship with white residents in their communities, while 56 percent say the same for relations with black residents. About 60 percent of white officers insist relations with black residents (whose motivations for protesting police violence this survey shows they largely question) are at least good, while only 32 percent of black officers say so.

Read the full report from Pew here.

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  1. A large majority of police officers?68 percent?say they believe protests against police violence are motivated in large part by anti-police bias. Just 10 percent told Pew they thought the protesters were motivated by genuine desire to hold cops accountable.

    Thanks, BLM. Turn a real issue into an identity politics issue and this is what you get. Unfortunately, this is what we all get from your antics.

    1. To be fair, I think a lot of cops would feel that way even if all protesters acted in an ideal fashion with ideal rhetoric. It says as much about the attitudes and bias of cops as it does about BLM.

      1. Their behavior and rhetoric is a lot worse than “less than ideal”.

      2. I don’t completely disagree. Some of that is going to mirror pretty standard “I hate my job, but I need it” grumbling.

        On the other hand, BLM is creating lots more work for cops by protesting (which sometimes turns into rioting) and blocking busy roads (creating more traffic accidents, requiring police presence to disperse unlawful protesters, potentially disrupting routes for emergency services, etc.) and other antics. If your employer heaped a bunch of shit on you that you should not have to deal with, but there is no other choice, you’d probably be pretty bitter about it too.

        BLM never focuses on the real problems anyway. They focus on a largely invented one. They turn national headlines into fuel for anger and hatred. But underneath it all is still a large core of proggies, and proggies would never vote to take away power from unions. Police unions are what protect bad cops. They’re what block adoption of body cams. They’re the ones that get rules passed in their favor to give them days to get their story straight before engaging the public on a controversial shooting. If BLM refuses to strike the root of the problem and instead futilely hack at the branches and drive up racial tensions at the same time, nobody’s got any damned use for them, least of all themselves.

        1. BLM never focuses on the real problems anyway.

          But underneath it all is still a large core of proggies, and proggies would never vote to take away power from unions. Police unions are what protect bad cops.

          If BLM refuses to strike the root of the problem

          https://www.joincampaignzero.org/contracts

          1. Putting up a web site is easy.

            Going door to door and convincing people to get people to go to a voting booth is much harder. Getting people to abolish public sector unions, not just get a few laws passed limiting them is the really hard work.

            Standing in the middle of a busy road and blocking traffic just pisses people off. It turns people who might have been allies into enemies. Saying ignorant things on twitter and web forums and on television every time someone points a camera and mic at them is only going to create enemies. Making it all about skin color alienates people, people who might be on the side of real reform if they were better informed. Rioting when they don’t get what they want delegitimizes their movement.

            There is a difference between what some of them say and what they do. And at the end of the day, they’re still proggies, they still won’t vote to get rid of the unions completely, and to them, we are still their enemies because we do want that outcome. I’ve been aware of that site for a while and I agree with some of what is on it, but those ideals are not what filter down into the ranks and the actions taken do nothing to further those goals. All lives matter is not an epithet.

  2. The Pew Research Center could have saved a lot of time and just called Dunphy.

  3. A large majority of police officers?68 percent?say they believe protests against police violence are motivated in large part by anti-police bias.

    Feelings were hurt.

  4. More than 85 percent of all cops surveyed said high-profile incidents of police brutality have made their jobs harder?nearly 75 percent of respondents say highly publicized incidents of police brutality have increased tensions between police officers and black community, while 72 percent say cops in their department are “less willing to stop and question suspicious persons” (with the number as high as 86 percent of cops in departments with at least 2,600 police officers).

    This is one reason why a beat-walking style of policing might be worth considering. Sitting in patrol cars all damn day, except to harass someone, is a huge source of tension between people and police. My only interactions with cops are being pulled over. The cop inevitably has his hand on his gun and writes me up for speeding or a seatbelt violation. Walking around the neighborhood and getting to know people would probably do wonders to lower violence going both ways.

    1. That’s crazy. First, they’d have to walk. Second, they’d have to walk.

    2. Keeping things local isn’t a guarantee of success, but it certainly seems to be a sight easier to do local right. Taking a malfunctioning pathologically flawed system and increasing its size just sees to make things top-heavy until it all falls over. But local, now. That, we can do.

      1. It’s not so much keeping it local. It’s about actually interacting like a human being rather than watching from the cruiser.

    3. eh…i dont really like when cops drive through my neighborhood or if they walked. If i cop talks to me i ask if i am being detained or free to go and keep walking. End of convo. I refuse to talk to them in anyway or form because they solely exist to troll me and take my money and liberty.

      1. You may feel that way out of a libertarian impulse to avoid interaction with agents of the state. 99% of the population wouldn’t react that way. Some better, some worse.

        As a matter of practicality (tensions lead to unnecessary violence, unnecessary violence is bad), it would be better if cop/citizen interactions were not 100% “Hi there, I’m arresting/fining you. You aren’t armed are you? Have a good day.”

        1. nice name BTW.

          I get what you mean…I think what you mean is

          Hey i pulled you over because of X/X/X make sure you fix it so i dont have to right you a ticket. or something like that.

          Never see police actually informing and helping a citizen…its either some BS PR stunt or trolling.

  5. file under: hell, it’s about time

    The Pentagon could be poised for a rapid about-face under the Trump administration, with the Obama administration’s push for social reform surrendering to what could be an old-school emphasis on combat readiness and the spirit of the United States military, experts told FoxNews.com.

    Under President Obama, the military sought to integrate transgender persons into the ranks, allow women into special operations forces and purge the nomenclature of gender-specific words, adopting what some critics say was a “politically correct” liberal agenda. That’s a contrast to the traditional U.S. military approach.

    In addition, some Navy ships have been named for civil rights activists. And while the Obama administration has taken an inclusive approach on some issues, it has also worked to minimize expressions of Christianity in the ranks. For example, several officers have been disciplined for displaying Bibles or gospel verses in their quarters.

    1. Do you ever read this guy’s blog? He’s ex-SF and writes a lot on that topic and other interesting stuff (mostly guns).

      TW: He also does some pro-cop stuff.

    2. All of Obama’s bullshit would have been worth it if he had created a nuclear capable USS Gandhi.

  6. For example, several officers have been disciplined for displaying Bibles or gospel verses in their quarters.

    There are no atheists in foxholes HQ.

  7. Another derp geyser from Salon

    Farewell, my black president: Barack Obama sounds a note of hope, and a note of warning

    During his farewell address last night, Obama was passionate while also restrained. Yet he wrapped the facts of American history in a soft but still durable glove and beat Trumpism and today’s Republicans about the metaphorical face and body.

    Obama’s enemies understood the symbolic power of a black man and his family quite well: For eight years, the Republican Party has used white racial resentment, overt racism, ethnocentrism and bigotry against the very idea of a black president to obstruct normal functions of government. Trump ultimately deployed those forces to win the 2016 presidential election.

    1. In the entire mainstream news media, there is not one article titled The Sweet Sound of Silence: Never Having to Listen to Obama’s Inane Lectures Again.

      No, “Ten Reasons Why Obama is the Least Self-Aware Democrat Ever”.

      And that makes me sad. Sad hamster.

      1. when you die, do we replace you with another hamster and act like nothing ever happened….or what?

  8. Man, Salon is on a roll today:

    Closing the orgasm gap
    New study abandons the assumption that love is a requirement of the female orgasm

    “The survey found women were more likely to achieve climax if their partner was financially well off, confident, and attractive.”

    I guess surveys are studies now.

    So women don’t need to be in love to orgasm, they just need to be very attracted to their partner. Totally different.

    1. wow…i could have told you that -_-

    2. So women don’t need to be in love to orgasm, they just need to be very attracted to their partner. Totally different.

      Well, isn’t it? One can be sexually attracted to an individual without necessarily being infatuated with romantic love towards that person.

      1. I suppose it depends on how you define love.

        I always took the phrase “in love” be a synonym for sexual attraction.

        Nobody says they’re “in love” with their friend, or kid, or pet, or favorite food. Or at least I’ve never heard it.

        1. Nobody says they’re “in love” with their friend, or kid, or pet, or favorite food. Or at least I’ve never heard it.

          You need to hang out with more drug dealers.

          1. Sokath, his eyes opened nose bleeding.

          1. I don’t think puns count as literal usage.

            Perhaps my ass burgers are acting up again.

        2. I suppose it depends on how you define love.

          Is it the love between a man and a woman, or the love of a man for a fine cigar?

          1. The love of crisp bacon?

        3. What is love?

          (pause for a second to let everyone say “baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” then maybe you will still want to look at the link)

      2. A few more stray thoughts:

        I have a hard time seeing how romantic love can refer to something besides sexual attraction given what the word “romance” in “romance novels” refers to.

        The etymology of “infatuate” is amusing. It comes from a Latin word that means “to become a fool”.

        It’s probably been done already, but I lay claim to the word “inflatulated”, which refers to being overcome with the intense desire to fart.

    3. the assumption that love is a requirement of the female orgasm

      Who made this assumption about this assumption?

      Was there a “poll”?

    4. Or, like men, they could just learn to masturbate.

      1. Have you seen the sex toys for women to masturbate with? Men need to learn from them, not the other way around.

  9. Some Aloha Snackbar type in Spain shot up a super market. Fortunately, he couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle.

    1. Why did he want to hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle?

      1. Because he didn’t have a coal shovel, duh.

  10. Farewell, my black president:

    +

    or eight years, the Republican Party has used white racial resentment, overt racism, ethnocentrism and bigotry against the very idea of a black president to obstruct normal functions of government.

    =zero self-awareness

    1. racial resentment, overt racism, ethnocentrism and bigotry

      Aren’t 3 of these redundant?

    2. the Republican Party has used white racial resentment, overt racism, ethnocentrism and bigotry against the very idea of a black president to obstruct normal functions of government.

      Because when the GOP congress did exactly the same thing to Bill Clinton in the 1990s? see, that was different.

      no, its not that they’re an opposition party, its that they’re all racists.

      1. Many a black person will tell you Bill Clinton was the first black president – so it was racism then as well.

  11. Nevertheless, a full two-thirds of cops surveyed said they believed incidents of police violence were isolated incidents, the opposite of the general public

    the actual survey question was =

    deaths of blacks during encounters with police during recent years were a) isolated incidents or b) signs of a broader problem or c) No Answer”

    and they omitted all non-responses.

    1) I don’t think “deaths of blacks during encounters with police during recent years”” is remotely the same as “incidents of police violence” writ large.

    the fact that the question specifies “blacks” is effectively asking “do you think police are broadly racist” in a backhand way. Should it be surprising most say, “no”, and that more blacks might say “yes”? Its a loaded question.

    2) where is the survey providing you data showing that the “general public” feels “the opposite”?
    (*and presumably ‘the opposite’ of the actual question asked, and not the broader one you pretended it was about)

    Surveys are shitty tools by themselves and generally aren’t as significant as pretended. But what’s worse is that not only do journalists routinely misconstrue them, they seem to do so intentionally

    1. 3) Assuming 2 is legit… Police, like any profession, are more likely to say that every incident in their line of work is a one-off with its own circumstances, while the public at-large sees a cluster of incidents that all “look the same.” To a kid getting a bunch of shots, all vaccines are ‘signs of a broader problem.’ To the biologist coming up with a new vaccine, some lessons can be taken from previously developed vaccines, but this one is defined mostly by why it’s different from the forerunners and is its own ‘isolated’ problem.

      1. I’m not sure what your point is.

        mine was that Ed misstated what the survey specifically said. it was asking about perceptions of a pretty narrow and specific set of events, (‘deaths of blacks in recent years’) not all “police violence” across the board.

        the pew report also suggested these results were different from those of a survey of the ‘general public’, but doesn’t provide any link to that survey which would allow any comparison.

        the biggest problem with “issue journalism” is that they reach farther than the evidence goes. it undermines the credibility of the source. any shitheel who wants to defend police can easily point to these kind of flaws.

        its absolutely unnecessary because there’s plenty of material to make a valid point without having to exaggerate facts.

        it reminds me of his citation a few years ago *(2014?) where he claimed something like “blacks are 21 times more likely to be shot by cops than whites”.

        if you read the source-data he linked to, it was “blacks 15-18” that had such a significant disparity; and the annual numbers were so variable (and small) that that “21X” was a cherry picked single-year, when the average was much less sensational

        that sort of thing suggests that the writer can’t be trusted as an honest reporter of facts. either because they don’t read the details, or they prefer to misconstrue them. If you’re going to be an issue-advocate, its the worst M.O. because its makes your reporting so easily discredited.

      2. *i read your comment again, and i agree with your point. the results of the poll are exactly what you should expect from any professional looking at their own field.

        the fact is that, statistically, i doubt “the last few years” have really even been particularly exceptional in terms of the # of people (black or white) who are killed by cops.

        (*and that’s a bad thing, naturally – but still shows that what has changed is the public-reaction, not policing)

        Reason has covered “excessive police violence” for many years, and none of this is new to readers here. what’s new is the BLM idea that police are an institution enforcing ‘systematic racism’. Which, as awful as cops are, is still pretty bullshit.

    2. what’s worse is that not only do journalists routinely misconstrue them, they seem to do so intentionally

      News don’ fake dey own selves

  12. Sad hamster.

    🙁

  13. Is the Ferguson Effect real yet?

  14. Nearly 80 percent of cops said they’d been thanked for their service in the last month

    Ingrateful shits bitch they don’t get paid enough, and then they complain if we don’t thank them? They should be down on their knees thanking us for paying the taxes that comprise their salary.

    1. Who knew 20% of cops are unpaid volunteers?

    2. Remember to wipe their jizz off your mouth BEFORE saying thank you.

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