A new survey of Seattle residents on how the Seattle Police Department is interacting with the community reveals the public thinks police are doing a better job.
The Department of Justice team monitoring SPD set out to measure how often Seattle residents say they are the victims of racial profiling, excessive force and verbally abusive language.
In 2013, they surveyed people from various racial and socioeconomic backgrounds on types of incidents such as excessive force and discriminatory policing. They conducted a second survey in 2015, which focused on Latino and African American residents, whose communities consistently gave Seattle PD lower marks.
The newest survey asked the same questions from 2015 and found key findings:
Seattle Police Department's performance rating continues to improve. The number of people who approve of the job done by Seattle police increased from 60% in 2013 to 64% in 2015 to 72% in 2016. Much of the improvement is among African American, Latinos, as well as among whites and Asian Americans.
Few people report problems with SPD in their personal interactions with officers. People who were stopped by SPD were more likely to approve how the interaction was handled (71%) than they were in 2013 (65%) or 2015 (70%) This includes all-time high numbers among people who had non-traffic stops (60%), African Americans (58%) and Latinos (65%).
Fewer people have been victims of excessive force from SPD in the last year.
More people (76% of people polled) say that SPD is keeping them safe.
While perceptions of racial profiling and excessive force are starting to drop, Latinos and African Americans' experiences still back up perception that SPD treats them worse than others, though the gap is narrowing. Also, the number of Asian Americans who know someone who’s been a victim of racial profiling is at an all-time high.