Criminal Justice

Stand Together Trust and Police Foundation Police Community Relations Poll

October 24, 2017
Stand Together Trust and Police Foundation Police Community Relations Poll

Arlington, Va. Oct. 24, 2017—Today, Stand Together Trust and the Police Foundation released a new survey 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 Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Washington, DC, where nearly 400 leading academics, law enforcement professionals, policy makers, think tank scholars, community advocates, and other influencers will convene to discuss the most urgent priorities for criminal justice and policing reform, including improving re-entry into society for the formerly incarcerated and police-community relations.

“We have a responsibility as a society to bring fairness and human dignity back into our criminal justice system. Our goal is to help the nation move towards an improved justice system by providing opportunities for open dialogue and support for academic research to bring new ideas and long-term solutions,” said Vikrant Reddy, senior research fellow on criminal justice reform at Stand Together Trust.

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.”

The Charles Koch Foundation and Stand Together Trust are dedicated to the discovery of new ideas that can improve American lives. Together, the organizations support research and educational programs on criminal justice and policing reform to stimulate new and lasting solutions to some of the most difficult challenges within the criminal justice system.

The Police Foundation, created in 1970 by the Ford Foundation, is America’s oldest nonpartisan, nonprofit police research organization whose mission is to advance policing through innovation and science.


 Media Contacts

Trice Jacobson
Charles Koch Foundation and Institute
Director, Strategic Communications

Stacia Komosinski
Stand Together Trust
Media Relations Specialist