A new Rasmussen survey released Tuesday shows 63 percent of American adults “still regard being a police officer as one of the most important jobs in our country today” while 26 percent disagree and 11 percent aren’t sure.
If Jack Webb, producer and star of the classic “Dragnet” television series were alive today, he might ask in his trademark deadpan, “What’s not to be sure about?”
Webb did a monologue during one episode of his long-running program that is considered a classic. Some say it is even perfect, and it can still be found on YouTube more than 40 years later.
Police and sheriff’s deputies—the people we call in an emergency—are under a microscope, and not just because one guy put his knee on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. Some people in law enforcement have done some bad things, same as some private citizens have kept police and sheriff’s deputies gainfully employed because they’ve made careers of doing bad things. Prisons are full of such people.
Stuck in the middle are the law-abiding citizens who would rather not be victims, and who support the men and women in law enforcement because, when one gets to the proverbial bottom line, police are the only thing that stands between us and a decaying society.
Police are civilian law enforcement. They are not the military. They are peace officers. And according to Rasmussen, 64 percent of survey respondents “are concerned that the growing criticism of America’s police will lead to a shortage of police officers and reduce public safety in the community where they live.”
“That includes 39% who are Very Concerned,” Rasmussen revealed. “But 33% don’t share that concern, with 14% who are Not at All Concerned about the risk to public safety.”
Considering the turmoil that has followed in the wake of the Minneapolis incident, the survey had a surprising revelation. According to Rasmussen, “Blacks (67%) are the most concerned about public safety where they live, compared to 63% of whites and 65% of other minority Americans.”
Attitudes about police change with political philosophy, the Rasmussen poll discovered. There is no small amount of hypocrisy here, since the country has repeatedly been warned against judging entire segments of the population for the misdeeds of a few. Gun owners face the same problem every time there is a mass shooting; the solutions are typically designed more to penalize the law-abiding gun owner than prevent a future tragedy.
Likewise, everyone with a badge is judged by the actions of a relative handful of individuals who cross that often invisible line between what the public considers right and wrong.
“Just 52% of Democrats consider being a police officer one of the most important jobs in the country, a view held by 82% of Republicans and 60% of adults not affiliated with either major party,” the survey noted. “But then while 56% of Republicans are Very Concerned that the growing criticism of the police will reduce public safety where they live, only 31% of Democrats and 34% of unaffiliateds agree.”
But those views may change quickly in the event of a home invasion robbery, assault or some other personal crime, when being a police officer becomes the most important thing to people in the aftermath.
Concerns about lack of police may be part of the motivation behind recent heavy gun sales. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus panic three months ago, gun stores have been doing rather brisk business. Background check data proves that.
Fox News is reporting how police in Washington, D.C. kept their cool while being taunted and provoked by protesters in a viral video.
In Seattle Saturday, protesters actually tried to prevent police from responding to what was a fatal shooting. Protesters threw things, called them names, screamed vulgarities.
Police officers put up with this sort of thing because that’s what they do. Perhaps Rasmussen should survey lawmen and women, and ask them why.
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