How quickly the tide turns. Hardly a year has passed since the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer triggered protests that pressured cities across the U.S. to reduce their police budgets. “Defund the police” became a mantra.

That was then. Now, with crime rates rising across the nation, the police are getting their money back. The two largest cities for example, New York and Los Angeles, have increased their police budgets by 3.7 and 3.0 percent respectively.

In addition to rising crime, expanded budgets have resulted from pressure by conservative politicians and by the loss of officers disillusioned by protests. The city that Bernie Sanders once led as mayor—Burlington, Vermont—is offering officers $10,000 bonuses to stay on the job.

This isn’t surprising since defunding the police wasn’t overly popular in the first place. A survey by Gallup showed that over 80 percent of Black Americans want police to spend as much or more time in their communities than currently. This was similar to the views of whites and Hispanics. Clearly, Americans of all colours appreciate their cops and don’t want to see fewer of them.

One area where attitudes between Blacks and whites differ significantly is in how they are treated by the police. Other studies have shown that white Americans are far more likely to rate the police as courteous, and to rate police departments as racially impartial. Blacks are far more likely to report verbal abuse and to know someone who has been physically abused. Consequently, while Blacks don’t want to see police departments diminished, they do want to see them reformed.

American police clearly have work to do to improve their image among Black citizens, but apparently they don’t have to worry about their jobs while they do it.

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