Support For Police Hits Highest Level In Decades


Americans' respect for police is now the highest it's been since the 1960s, according to a new poll, with the biggest gains in support coming from non-whites.

A Gallup poll released on Oct. 24 found 76 percent of Americans say they have a "great deal" of respect for police in their area, a dramatic jump of 12 percent from 2015.

That figure is the highest it's been since 1967, when Gallup asked the same question in a national poll. Overall, the polling institute says it's asked the question nine times over an almost 50-year period in an attempt to better understand how the American public views the men and women who are charged with keeping them safe.

The pollsters suggest the high-profile retaliatory killings of police officers are at least partly responsible for the shift in attitudes. On July 7, a man killed five Dallas police officers and injured nine others in retaliation for the police killings of unarmed black men across the country.

The shooting, which followed a Black Lives Matter rally earlier in the day, was the deadliest single attack on American law enforcement since the terrorist strike on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011. That attack claimed the lives of 60 police officers who worked for the New York Police Department and the Port Authority Police Department.

On July 17, another man shot and killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and wounded three others in retaliation for the July 5 shooting of Alton Sterling, an unarmed black man.

"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," the poll's authors wrote.

While Republicans and conservatives were the biggest self-professed supporters of police, the poll found an increase in respect across all party lines, political leanings and age groups.

Sources: Gallup, USA Today, New York Times / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Popular Video