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Actually, Americans can find common ground on police reform

Actually, Americans can find common ground on police reform
[Photo: Felix Koutchinski/Unsplash]

It turns out that there is something Americans agree on: police reform—or at least some aspects of it.

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According to a new poll from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation, most voters agree on a number of police reform issues, like body cams and an officers’ duty to intervene. Despite the common ground, Congress has yet to pass any legislation for national police reforms. Both the House Democrats and Senate Republicans struck down bills related to the issue.

Ten proposals were chosen for the survey, and over 3,000 voters participated. The proposals fell under five general categories:

  • General policies regarding use of force
  • Specific policies regarding use of force
  • Increasing accountability of law enforcement officers
  • Implicit racial bias training
  • Police access to military equipment

Almost 90% of respondents were in favor of body cameras, while 81% favored a national registry of police misconduct, including 71% of Republicans and 78% of independents. 

A majority of Republicans backed six of the 10 proposals, including a ban on chokeholds (55%) and implicit bias training (53%).

Each respondent was given a “policymaking simulation” during the survey, which briefed them on the policy options. The survey also gave participants arguments for and against each policy before asking the respondent to respond.

The study was conducted July 2-9 had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

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