Do We Trust Cops Too Much?

by Dish Staff

Police Confidence

Last week, Scott Clement flagged a poll finding that recent events “might have actually increased white Americans’ belief that their local cops treat blacks fairly”:

There’s been no such boon in confidence among African Americans, though. Just 12 percent express a great deal of confidence in local police’s equal treatment of blacks and whites — a number that is squarely within the 10-to-17-point range in previous surveys. Only one-third have at least a “fair amount” of confidence in their neighborhood police, compared with 78 percent of whites.

Josh Marshall thinks “people who are part of or sympathetic to the movement tied to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and others sometimes miss just what deep wells of support and trust police have in the population”:

Police officers are consistently among the most trusted professions in the country, as attested in numerous public opinion surveys. That said, respect and trust and deference to police is heavily tied to public perceptions of the threats they protect us from. And as we’ve discussed, crime rates have been falling rapidly for two decades.

After the Garner non-indictment, Damon Linker advocated against giving officers the benefit of the doubt:

How many bad apples are there? And which ones? We have no idea — and our asinine, knee-jerk deferral to the police, our unwillingness to hold them accountable before the law when they make a questionable call to use deadly force, ensures that we will never know. And it also ensures that the bad apples will receive the message that they have free rein to do whatever they want, with nearly complete impunity.

Until this changes, all of our lofty encomiums to individual liberty and limited government will amount to nothing but empty air.