Earlier this month we published our 2017-2019 Police Ballot Measure Report. At first glance, the report identifies trends in voter behavior and an overall picture of the status of police operations nationwide. As we dig a bit deeper, more trends emerge, especially by region.
Studying Voter Behavior by Region
A glance through the ballot measures presented to voters in each region of the United States reveals some trends in behavior. For the most part, voter behavior stayed fairly true to what may be expected from certain regions of the country. For example, voters in the South primarily supported and approved funding increases for police services, a demonstration of support for police operations.
However, some jurisdictions, such as one in Thomaston, Georgia, surprisingly voted to consolidate the duties of a local police department in order to save on budget and eliminate operations that voters deemed inefficient or unnecessary.
In the Northeast, budget increases were more difficult to come by as voters held their views on any tax increases close to the vest. The results of voting on these ballot measures were mixed, but there are a few marked failures of infrastructure-related measures that had requested funding to make the changes possible.
The Western states were largely in support of increases in funding for police. The West was also the home of most ballot measures having to do with civilian oversight boards.
Police Equipment and CEDs
A notable trend in voter behavior is that many measures requesting funding for improved protective equipment for officers did not pass.
In San Francisco, California, a ballot measure requested permission to equip police officers with tasers or other Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs). This request was denied by voters.
Other measures, such as one in Genoa, Nevada, requested funding to upgrade police equipment. The list of equipment upgrades needed included bulletproof vests, body cameras, tasers, and patrol rifles, but also failed when presented to voters.
In general, voters are very supportive of police. However, there are certain issues and areas where it seems more difficult for police departments to get the funding needed to effectively do their job. We will be digging deeper into those areas in future articles.
In many cases judges do not hold up their end of the bargain when they hand down light sentences to convicted criminals; criminals who police officers put their lives on the line to apprehend and bring to justice. Here are three examples of weak judges handing down lenient sentences, with no regard to the police officers who worked to bring these criminals to justice.