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Police union releases demographic details on survey

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by Jack Craver

In an effort to persuade City Council to approve a new contract for its members this week, the Austin Police Association released a survey Monday that it described as evidence that the community thinks highly of local police and supports the proposed contract. The survey of more than 2,000 residents (with a margin of error of 2.2 percent) conducted by political consultant Mark Littlefield, asked respondents whether they believed Austin police officers were “professional” or “out of control.” Seventy-nine percent opted for professional, compared to 10 percent who said out of control and 11 percent who were unsure. Asked whether Austin police officers are effectively disciplined for serious misconduct, 46 percent said yes, 29 percent said no and 25 percent were unsure. Fifty-one percent said they believed APD treats minorities fairly, while 28 percent disagreed and 21 percent were unsure. The sample polled was whiter and far older than Austin as a whole. While African-Americans accounted for 10 percent of the polling sample (higher than their proportion of the population), Hispanics only accounted for 20 percent, while the last census estimated that Hispanics account for 35 percent of the city’s population. Forty-four percent of respondents were over 65 and only 14 percent were under 40. Eighteen percent of respondents came from the west side’s District 10, while only 4 percent came from District 2 in Southeast Austin or District 3 in Central East Austin. African-Americans were almost evenly split on whether APD treats minorities fairly or unfairly (42 percent versus 41 percent) and they were more likely to describe local officers as “out of control (25 percent) than Anglos or Hispanics. However, one should be cautious when analyzing the results based on demographics, since the margin of error for each subgroup is much higher than for the overall survey.

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