Sixty percent of Seattle residents believe the Police Department is doing, a good or excellent job, while 34 percent think they are doing a poor job, according to key findings of a phone survey made public today.
Moreover, 74 percent believe the police do a good job of keeping people safe, with 20 percent disagreeing, the survey found.
But the numbers conceal sharply lower views among African-Americans and Latinos, according to the survey commissioned by the federal monitoring team overseeing court-ordered reforms to address excessive use of force by officers. Forty-nine percent of African-Americans approve of the overall job done by Seattle police, while 42 percent disapprove. For Latinos, it is 54 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove.
Only 35 percent of all respondents agree that police treat all races equally, including minorities, the homeless and young people.
Forty-five percent believe police use excessive force very or somewhat often, ranking that issue second only to racial profiling as a type of mistreatment, the survey found.
The survey’s authors concluded that it will be difficult for police to improve community relations with Latinos and African-Americans “if these levels of negative officer-citizen interactions persist.”
The survey involved 900 cell and landline calls with adults 18 and older, with sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.
The SPD’s overall job rating of 60 percent compares to a 74 percent approval and 9 percent disapproval rating for the State Patrol,
the survey authors noted.
“The fact that almost four times as many people disapprove of the Seattle PD’s performance as the Washington State Patrol’s is a significant difference,” they wrote.