Amid demands from protesters in the wake of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis to “defund” police departments, a new Rasmussen survey released Tuesday says 59 percent of American adults “are opposed to cutting their local police budget.”
Only 27 percent of the survey respondents want to reduce police budgets, and 14 percent are undecided, according to Rasmussen.
Sentiments run along party lines, the new report revealed. Republicans are more reluctant than Democrats or Independents to cut police funding, and “those under 40 like the idea a lot more than their elders do.”
Another disturbing revelation of the Rasmussen poll is that 16 percent of Americans think most police officers are racist in the aftermath of Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody May 25. That’s up 10 percent from a year ago, Rasmussen said.
However, 67 percent “still rate the performance of their local police as good or excellent.”
But officials in Minneapolis, Seattle and other cities are joining the anti-police chorus. Minneapolis Council President Lisa Bender told CNN, “We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe.”
In Seattle, Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda tweeted, “How many people have to call for the police to be defunded before the Mayor embraces radical change?”
She added, “The problem is–the weapons aren’t illegal, the tactics aren’t illegal, the riot gear isn’t illegal. We have allowed them, we have funded them, and that is why WE need to change.”
The Rasmussen survey found other interesting opinions.
“Even among blacks,” Rasmussen said, “only 27% think there are too many cops, although that compares to 15% of whites and 17% of other minority Americans. Blacks (36%) are more enthusiastic than whites (25%) and other minorities (24%) about defunding the police and channeling that money into more social services.”
The survey was conducted June 7-8 by Rasmussen Reports with a+/- 3 percentage point margin of sampling error and a 95 percent level of confidence.
Another revelation is that 77 percent of adults say crime remains a serious problem in the country today with 38 percent saying it is “very serious.”
What happens if police agencies are “de-funded” or dismantled and rebuilt?
According to CNN, what happened in Camden, N.J. might provide a hint. The story noted, “Before its police reforms, Camden was routinely named one of the most violent cities in the US. Now, seven years after the old department was booted (though around 100 officers were rehired), the city’s crime has dropped by close to half. Officers host outdoor parties for residents and knock on doors to introduce themselves. It’s a radically different Camden than it was even a decade ago.”
But will the Camden model work elsewhere?
In some communities, including Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and the cities of Snohomish and Kirkland in neighboring Washington, citizens tried a different approach to fears of violent protest. They turned out in big numbers, visibly armed. It apparently had a deterrent effect, since there have been no problems in any of those communities.
Perhaps a quote in the Spokane Spokesman-Review summed it up.
“I think there are two types of people,” Coeur d’Alene’s Mike Marquardt said. “The good people who are here to get a message across, and we are here to support and protect them. Then there are those who come to take advantage of the situation and cause trouble. We are here to protect against those.”