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.
Policing in America—an extensive national public opinion survey undertaken and newly released by the Cato Institute—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. The report’s surveys, analysis, and writing were conducted by Emily Ekins, a research fellow at the Cato Institute.
Further, Policing in America offers analysis of public attitudes and priorities for reforms, including the wide support for improving police-community relations, de-escalation training, body cameras, and independent investigations of alleged misconduct. The report also details significant opposition to many proposed practices, including police use of military weapons and armored vehicles, civil asset forfeiture, warrantless stops to search cars for drugs, and racial profiling.
The expanse and depth of Policing in America provide a compelling and highly illuminating look at one of our nation’s more urgent and widely-shared issues.