MADISON — A new survey out today finds most people in Wisconsin approve of the job police are doing in communities across the state.
Those behind the questions of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association’s 2022 Public Survey say they hope this information creates a meaningful conversation between law enforcement and the residents they serve.
“We really view this as an exploration to better understand how people, regardless of their demographic background, feel about law enforcement, the jobs that they do, and what they think the priorities for law enforcement ought to be,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer.
77% of people who responded say they approve of how the local police force is handling its job, while 19% disapprove.
Palmer calls this a rebound, following reforms to policing after the death of George Floyd.
“They believe that having a local law enforcement agency that is well funded and well-trained improves their quality of life,” said Palmer.
The survey also found a big difference in opinion between white and non-white people.
When it comes to questions about race and police violence, 62% of non-white respondents said deaths of Black Americans and other minorities by police officers are a sign of a broader problem versus 50% of white respondents who say they are isolated incidents.
Another question — How much do you respect police in your community? — got a varied response.
64% of white Wisconsinites said they have “a great deal” of respect for law enforcement, compared to 42% of non-white residents.
Palmer says these numbers speak to the need to make sure the dialogue between police and community remains clear.
“It's important that law enforcement agencies and the law enforcement community provide detailed, accurate information so that we can have a public discourse that's based in reality and based on fact,” said Palmer.
Another key question on the survey was about the use of school resource officers.
63% of people polled said having a police officer in public schools would increase school safety, while 25% said it wouldn’t make a difference.
You can read the full survey results below.