- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Police aren’t faring so well when it comes to inspiring trust from the community, a poll from USA Today/Pew Research Center found.

About 65 percent of respondents said police did “only a fair” or poor job in holding fellow officers accountable for misconduct, while 30 percent said they did an excellent or good job in that regard.

The findings were similar when the questions dealt with how police treated different racial groups and if police usually applied the right amount of force.

Mostly, though, critics say police are becoming far too militarized. More than four of 10 respondents said they weren’t confident police could use military-grade equipment and weapons appropriately, USA Today reported.

The responses vastly differed when broken down by race, however. More than nine of 10 blacks said the police only do a fair or poor job when it comes to applying equal treatment and appropriate levels of force. Whites were much more accommodating to police and gave significantly higher marks in these polling areas.

The poll results come in the wake of video from the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, showing police in camouflage uniforms, body armor and Kevlar riding atop an armored vehicle with a mounted .50 caliber machine gun. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, but say the tactics were defensive.

The poll was taken Wednesday through Sunday and included 1,501 adults. It has a margin of error of plus/minus three percentage points.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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