Survey of 8,000 police officers reveals concerns of safety and public perception

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Growing concerns about personal safety and how the public perceives law enforcement were revealed by a Pew Research Center police survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform.

"I'm in my 40th year and I've never seen it as bad as it was in 2016," said Rowlett Police Chief Mike Broadnax on the challenges facing today's law enforcement..

The survey showed the greatest concern, by far, is safety. 93% of the 8,000 officers polled say the have become more worried about the dangers of the job, and that was before the brutal murders of 5 officers in Dallas and 3 in Baton Rouge.

"I think that statistic is probably valid for every police officer in America," said Chief Broadnax. "We definitely have a concern because we are doing 2 man responses now to all of our calls."

President of the Dallas Police Association, Sgt. Mike Mata works in a much larger department, where recruiting has become a challenge, but he also pointed out another part of the survey.

"72% of the officers said they are less willing to stop and question suspicious persons," said Mata, " It has to do with, they patrol that area so much and so often, you see the same people over and over again. And something doesn't look right. But instead of acting on that sixth sense, we'll just carry on and go the other way."

The survey also shows 86% of the public doesn't understand the risks officers face. Broadnax and Mata agreed, "I was called to a residence not too long ago, a couple of weeks ago because he didn't want to do his homework." said Mata, "That is not the job of a police officer.  We are not dog catchers, we are not mental health professionals, but we get these calls because it is so much easier to call 911."