A random survey of more than 500 law enforcement officers in the United States found that a significant portion have changed the way they police America’s communities as a result of the current national upheaval regarding police practices. Perhaps most troubling, less than one-third believe “my leadership will back a good cop who generally does right” if that cop is the focus of a media controversy.
The survey was conducted for Cop PRotect, a service of Compass Check Consulting Services, which provides public relations services to individual police officers. It was emailed in August to 41,000 subscribers of Police Magazine, seeking their commentary on the current media and political environment surrounding policing. Over 700 subscribers responded, with 518 self-identifying as current local, state or federal law enforcement officers. There are between 500,000 and 750,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, according to various counts.
Asked “If you were caught in a media fire storm and had done nothing or very little wrong, how much would you trust your department and elected officials to defend your name and reputation?” of the 518, 21.5% responded “my department will sell me out in a heart beat, right or wrong.” The most common answer, at 39.9%, was “depends on which way the wind blows.” Just 168 officers, 32.56% of respondents, said their leadership will “back a good cop who generally does right.”
“This is a condemnation of the political leadership of America’s cities and states,” said Robert Parry, president of Cop PRotect. “Police officers know that their management responds to politicians, and this survey is proof cops don’t trust those politicians to support them when they make tough decisions in uncertain situations.”
Parry noted that recent decisions involving police use of force by civilian review boards, such as the Ezell Ford verdict by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, are sending a strong signal to cops: “politics is more important than your safety.”
In another question of the survey, officers were asked to rate their level of concern about the current environment. 39% of officers replied that they are “almost always aware of it,” while 42% replied that they have changed the way they work, ranging from 15% who said they have “made decisions on duty to limit exposure” to 13.1% who said they have “reduced enforcement activity as a result.”
“The American media and political apparatus are sending strong signals second guessing police officers, and they are reacting,” said Robert Parry. “While community leaders may say they don’t trust the police, it is clear the police don’t trust community leaders, and they are pulling back enforcement as a result,” added Parry, who noted that crime is rising significantly in many corners of the country, such as Los Angeles where violent crime is up 20% this year, and Chicago where Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently blamed the police department as “becoming fetal” as a cause for a surge in violence.
ABOUT COP PROTECT
Cop PRotect is a subscription-based product of Compass Check Consulting Services, an experienced business marketing and public relations firm with unique skills and experience in media relations, public relations, social media and law enforcement. The firm’s founder, Robert Parry, has extensive experience in public relations, media relations and marketing with expertise in controversial sectors including investment banking, oil and gas exploration and policing. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, For more information visit www.CopPRotect.com or call 310-651-0231.