New National Poll Shows Broad Support for Demilitarizing the Police

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

CONTACT: Ravi Mangla | [email protected] | 585-507-1204

Majority of Likely Voters Support Stopping the Sale of Military Equipment to Police Departments

The latest polling from Data for Progress and the TJC Institute shows a majority of likely voters (52%), including 59% of Republican voters, support stopping the sale of military-style equipment to local police departments.

Additionally, a bipartisan majority of voters (63%) supports requiring local law enforcement agencies to receive approval from a governing body (e.g. City Council) before acquiring military equipment.

The polling is part of a new report from Professor Bernard E. Harcourt, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia University. Harcourt’s report chronicles the rise of the 1033 Program and how it has fueled aggressive policing tactics. “All this military-grade equipment enables the tactics of violence and intimidation that have become de rigueur in response to peaceful protests,” writes Harcourt.

At least $7.4 billion in property has been transferred to local police since the inception of the 1033 Program. Police forces across the country have stockpiled over 500 military-grade aircrafts, 400 mine-resistant vehicles, over 93,000 assault weapons, and 200 grenade launchers. Through Bill Barr’s “Operation Legend” program, surveillance technology has been flowing into cities, including phone hacking technology and protest surveillance tools.

A number of major cities, including Pittsburgh and Charlottesville, have passed measures to demilitarize their local police forces. Detroit and Salt Lake City are currently weighing proposals to curb the militarization of police.

The full report and polling memo can be found here.