The differences between how police officers and the public view their jobs are staggering.
Compared to 60% of the population, less than one third of police officers believe that fatal shootings of African American men by officers indicate a systemic problem, a Pew Research Center study found.
The study, which interviewed more than 8,000 officers about their jobs, also found that 86% of police officers surveyed believe that protests against high-profile officer shootings of African American men like Michael Brown or Walter Scott have made their jobs more difficult.
More than two thirds of officers said that recent protests against police brutality were motivated by “anti-police bias” while only 10% viewed them as “a genuine desire to hold police accountable for their actions.”
“Police say their jobs are harder now as a consequence of recent high-profile fatal incidents involving blacks and police,” the study read.
Almost 75% of officers surveyed said that they were less likely to apprehend suspects after negative attention brought forth by the protests while more than 90% have become more concerned about their safety in recent years — the killing of more than 6 police officers in Dallas occurred while the study was in progress. More than 4 % of officers said that they feel fearful for their safety due to their job, while only 14% believes that the public understands the risks officers face.
The study also underscored further differences in views between officers of different races. While 92% of white officers believe that the country has done all that it can to ensure equal rights for African Americans, only 29% of black officers and 57 % of all white adults feel the same way.
In an even more surprising finding, more than half of all officers believe aggression is more effective than courtesy in certain neighbourhoods while 44% believe that “hard, physical tactics are necessary to deal with some people.”
While the study focused on ways officers often feel misunderstood by the public, people on social media pointed out the higher responsibility officers have to earn trust — given their power in the community.
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