May 4, 2022
Since launching this annual effort a decade ago, the WPPA has been the only law enforcement group in the country to consistently commission objective public polling on issues related to policing in our communities. As Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group, we have undertaken this initiative out of a genuine desire to better understand the communities we serve and a commitment to be part of the solutions to the challenges that we collectively face as a state. Conducted by the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute, the WPPA’s polling has helped us take a leading and constructive role in the public dialogue on these issues, and it has provided us with an invaluable resource for our law enforcement community to listen, learn, and evolve to meet the public’s diverse expectations and needs.
The WPPA’s 2022 statewide poll strongly suggests that the public support for law enforcement is rebounding after a slight two-year dip during nationwide protests and COVID-19. Wisconsinites continue to rank public safety as the government’s number one priority, exhibit extraordinary support for law enforcement’s use of body-worn cameras, and the vast majority of the public agree that a well-funded and well-trained police force improves the overall quality of life in their community.
Notably, this year’s poll also suggests that a third of both white and minorities in Wisconsin believe that their community is becoming less safe, and both groups identified drug addiction as the “most extreme” problem in their local community. In addition, our poll indicates that a significant majority of the public believes that Wisconsin has experienced an increase in violent crime over the past year, which would be consistent with the latest crime reporting data.
Review a summary of this year’s key findings. Other highlights include:
- 77% of the public approve of the way their local police force is handling its job.
- Only 14% of non-white respondents indicate that police spend too much time in their neighborhoods.
- 91% of the public and a majority of both white and non-white residents agree that having a well-trained police force helps make our communities a safer place in which to live.
- 80% of the public agree that having a well-funded police force improves the overall quality of life in our communities.
- 73% of the public agree that the respect for law enforcement has decreased from a year ago.
- 70% of the public believe that Wisconsin has experienced an increase in violent crime over the past year.
- A majority of both white and minority individuals believe that having a police officer in a school increases school safety.
- A majority of the public opposes reducing their local police department’s budget to increase spending in social programs, such as mental health services and those to address homelessness.
- 67% of the public supports increasing spending for social programs, but not at the expense of their police department.
- 64% of the public support increasing local taxes for specially-trained mental health officers and 61% favor increasing local taxes to pay for body-worn cameras.
- While a majority of the minority population appears to believe that police violence against blacks or African-Americans in Wisconsin is moderately or extremely serious, it’s worth noting that this same demographic category appears to also incorrectly believe that most of the individuals shot by Wisconsin officers last year were unarmed and members of a minority group.
- Only 40% of minorities agree that a majority of the individuals fatally shot by police officers in Wisconsin last year were armed. Data compiled by the WPPA demonstrates that 100% of the fatal police shootings in Wisconsin last year involved armed individuals.
- 69% of minorities agree that most of the people shot by law enforcement officers in Wisconsin last year were members of a minority group. In fact, 27% of the people shot by police, or six individuals out of a total of 22, were non-white.
- Qualified Immunity: A majority of the public (54%) disagree that police officers should be held liable for monetary damages when they followed their training and didn’t knowingly violate the law.
Read the 2022 Poll Report Summary. If you are interested in the full WPPA 2022 PUBLIC SURVEY, please .
CHECK OUT SOME OF THE STATEWIDE MEDIA COVERAGE GARNERED BY THIS YEAR’S POLL:
“Findings from the latest poll from Wisconsin’s largest police union.” For the Record, WISC-TV Channel 3000, Madison (Airs Statewide), May 8, 2022.
“10 years of WPPA public opinion polls.” Capital City Sunday, WKOW-TV, Statewide, May 8, 2022
“Wisconsinites support mental health officers in police departments, survey shows.” NBC26, Green Bay, May 6, 2022
“How the public’s perception of law enforcement is impacting local police recruitment.” NBC 26, Green Bay, May 4, 2022
“La Crosse teachers petitioners ask for more school resource officers.” WKBT-TV Channel 8000, La Crosse, May 4, 2022
“Most approve police officers in schools, after MPS removes them, WPPA poll finds.” WDJT-TV Channel 58, Milwaukee, May 4, 2022
“Survey reveals public’s perception of law enforcement.” WMTV NBC15, Madison, May 4, 2022
“Survey on policing in Wisconsin.” WBAY-TV Channel 2, Green Bay, May 4, 2022
“Wisconsinites support mental health officers, survey shows.” NBC 26, Green Bay, May 6, 2022
“Police union survey shows Wisconsin’s views on policing largely unmoving.” Wausau Pilot & Review, May 6, 2022
“10th annual WPPA survey shows strong support for police, divide on race based issues.” WQOW-TV News 18, Eau Claire, May 4, 2022
“WPPA releases findings of annual survey on local policing.” WAOW-TV News 9, Wausau, May 4, 2022
“Public survey shows most Wisconsinites approve of recent police performance.” TMJ4, Milwaukee, May 4, 2022
“Most support police officers in schools, Wisconsin police union survey suggests.” Wisconsin State Journal, May 4, 2022
“Wisconsin Professional Police Association Poll.” WisPolitics Rewind/Your Week in Review, WisPolitics Podcast, May 7, 2022
“WPPA survey results offer several surprises, from SROs to police violence!” The Morning News With Matt & Earl, 97.5 FM 1360 AM WTAQ Radio, Fox Valley, May 5, 2022