American support for police officers reached its highest levels since 1967, according to a poll released Monday.
Seventy-six percent of Americans stated that they have “a great deal” of respect for their local law enforcement officers, a Gallup poll reveals. This number is up 12 percentage points from last year’s numbers.
Seventeen percent of Americans said they had “some” respect for local police officers and only 7 percent claimed they had “hardly any” respect.
The numbers are at their highest since 1967, when 77 percent of Americans said they had “a great deal” of respect for officers.
“The sharp increase over the past year in professed respect for local law enforcement comes as many police say they feel they are on the defensive — both politically and for their lives while they are on duty — amid heated national discussions on police brutality and shootings,”Justin McCarthy, a Gallup poll analyst, wrote.
William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, told the Wall Street Journal that the poll shows that Americans know that videos of officers killing civilians don’t represent the entire situation.
“The public understands that there are incidents where things go horribly wrong. They also understand that policing in the U.S. is the best in the world,” Johnson said.
Respect for police is also increasing among minority groups. Sixty-seven percent of non-whites say they have “a great deal” of respect for their local officers, up 14 points from last year’s numbers.
Meanwhile, 80 percent of whites say they have “a great deal” of respect for local police, which is a rise of 11 points from last year.
A law enforcement expert said that the increase in support could be attributed to the latest shootings against police officers.
“Some of it is the rallying support of law enforcement in the wake of the shootings. The optimist in me thinks it’s more than just a knee-jerk rallying and really has to do with reflection on what the role of police should be and the complex challenges they face,” Laurie Robinson, a criminology professor at George Mason University, told the Wall Street Journal.
In a poll conducted before the July shooting of Dallas police officers, 56 percent of Americans reported they had confidence in officers, up from 52 percent in 2015, the lowest numbers sine 1993.
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