March 24, 2016 | By Karl Friedhoff

NYPD Union Takes to the Polls


New York Police Department graduates attend an induction ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Public opinion surveys on the attitudes of private citizens towards the police are fairly common (See: AEI, Gallup, Pew). But it is comparatively rare that the surveys are reversed, asking police about their opinions on the state of their profession and working environment. If such internal surveys are conducted it seems even rarer for them to be publicly released, especially in what must be trying times for police departments around the country. With that in mind, in steps New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (NYCPBA) with its membership study. And as one might have guessed, the outlook of the officers surveyed is not rosy. 
  • Ninety-two percent of the respondents say support for the police has decreased during the de Blasio administration, when compared to past administrations.
  • Ninety-five percent of the respondents said New York City is heading down the wrong track.
  • Eighty-seven percent said New York City has become “less safe” in the past two years.
     
You can read the rest on your own at the link provided above, or you can view the full cross tabs here.

It would be useful to have comparable points from other cities, but it is not clear they exist. Both Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police and the Los Angeles Police Protective League—the unions for the officers of the respective cities—said they did not have such surveys when reached via telephone.

What little work there has been done on this has been carried out by the National Police Research Platform funded by the National Institute of Justice. But the funding on that project seems to have ended in 2014, and the data it does provide is reported only in aggregate.

At a time when the spotlight is on policing around the country, it would be great to have more comprehensive data, including from the perspective of the officers. But for the time being, that data does not seem to exist. Perhaps the release of the data by the NYCPBA will start a trend.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

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