Minnesotans' opinions on police appear to be "overwhelmingly positive," according to survey results released Monday by the state's largest law enforcement organization.
Ninety percent of residents polled said they approved of the way their local police officers handled their job, and 86 percent said their personal interactions with local police officers have been positive, according to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
Out of 450 people surveyed on June 15 and 16, 85 percent said they trusted officers to have good judgment in their use of deadly force, and 55 percent said that recent events around the country involving police haven't altered their perception of law enforcement authorities in their local area.
"Let's face it; cops in Minnesota do a good job," Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the police officer association, said during a teleconference call. "They buy into community involvement; they buy into community policing. They have for a number of years."
In the wake of widespread news coverage beginning last summer on fatal shootings of several black men by police and ensuing unrest around the country, some of the association's 8,500 members began to ask if the perceptions of Minnesotans were being influenced by national incidents, Flaherty said.
The survey, conducted by Pennsylvania polling firm Harper Polling, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.62 percent. About 83 percent of the respondents were white. Close to a third of respondents lived in Ramsey or Hennepin counties.
Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality, wasn't impressed by the association's report, calling it "nonsensical." She said the survey participants were generally older and white and had to be registered voters, which also limited the diversity of the pool.
"It's not about individual police officers. … What do you think about the system of policing? When it comes to the system of policing, we have a problem, because police are not held accountable," Gross said.