In 2016 in particular, attacks on police officers, along with a rising murder rate in a number of big cities, have engendered a strong reaction of support for police that spread into the presidential race. Law and order became a major theme, along with criminal justice reform. Attendance at memorials for both police and civilians were high-profile events in the campaigns./>
- 76% report a “great deal of respect” for the police in their area, a 12 percent surge since last year (Gallup, October 5-9, 2016). Respect for police increased last year among both whites (80% up from 69%) and non-whites (64% up from 53%).
- Police were fifth from the top in a list of twenty-one professions for having a high or very high rating of “honesty and ethical standards” (56%). They ranked lower than medical professionals (nurses – 85%, pharmacists – 68% and doctors – 67%, and just behind teachers – 60%). At 56%, they ranked above clergy (45%), journalists (27%), business executives (15%) and Congress people (8%). (Gallup, December 2-6, 2016)
- Police were third from the top in a list of fifteen institutions with more than half the public (56%) expressing a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence (Gallup, June 1-5, 2016). This observation was reinforced at the end of the year when NBC News/WSJ reported 59% of American adults rated police and law enforcement second behind the military (73%) in level of confidence with the American people. They are exceptions. The poll showed little confidence in major American institutions, such as the CIA (33%), public schools (31%) and the national news media (16%).