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WI Professional Police Association releases 2021 public survey

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(WQOW) - The Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) has released its 2021 Public Survey Report, which summarizes 1,000 voluntary responses about community policing issues across the state.

This is the ninth consecutive year that WPPA'S statewide survey has polled communities across the Badger State, highlighting key issues with law enforcement and learning what changes can be made going forward.

In the 2021 report, which resulted from a public survey that was open from February to March, here are some of the major findings:

  • 51% of white respondents and 73% of non-white respondents believe police violence against African Americans is a serious problem in Wisconsin.
  • When questioned about social justice and protests, 55% of respondents believe protests hurt, not help, police reform.
  • In life-threatening situations, 49% of respondents agree that an officers' use of a chokehold should be permitted; 37% disagree, and 14% are unsure.
  • 68% of respondents support changing the law so that police officers can be sued for misconduct, even if there is no previous legal case with similar facts.
  • Overall, 79% of people surveyed approved of their local police department's work. In that 79%, 83% of those that approve are white and 58% are non-white.

This approval rate came as a surprise to WPPA officials.

"Each year we have questions that carry over so we can kind of track to see if there are any deviations," said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. "Despite the tumultuous year that we've had since the tragic death of George Floyd, we were a little surprised that the public support for law enforcement in Wisconsin has remained as high as it is. That's not something we would have ordinarily expected."

All these percentages have been weighted to reflect the age, race and ethnicity, income, education, and gender demographic profile in Wisconsin.