Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Police Chief, City Council talk about division between law enforcement and the community

From The Journal

RACINE — The City Council and Racine’s chief of police have a common goal — “to close the gap” between the greater community and its police force.

But a few recent tragedies have made that challenging.

“Post 2012 — post-Trayvon Martin, post-Eric Garner, post-Freddie Gray, post-Mike Brown; I can go on — it’s different,” Police Chief Art Howell told the City Council last week.

The four names Howell referenced were all young black men who died following police encounters (in the cases of Brown, Garner and Gray) or in allegedly race-related incidents (in the case of Martin).

All four incidents sparked national protests.

Despite those high-profile deaths in recent years, Americans’ respect levels for police have not changed much over the past half-century, according to polls conducted by Gallup. Respect appears to have always been fluctuating.

The two years when the public’s confidence in police was highest came 46 years apart:

In 1968, 77% of Gallup poll respondents said they had “a great deal” of confidence in officers;
And in 2016, 76% said the same thing.
In 2017, however, the percentage of Americans who said they have “a great deal” of confidence in police dropped back down to 57%, the lowest total since 2006.

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