For years, it has been clear that our way of policing in Virginia and across the country just isn’t working. We add new names to the list of Black and Brown people who are killed by police on a seemingly daily basis with cops almost never facing any consequences for their actions. Even when cops aren’t murdering people with impunity, they are brutalizing protesters and doing more harm than good for the most vulnerable people in our community. Enough is enough, and it is time to make some changes.
Members of the General Assembly will be coming back for a special session on Aug. 18, and making changes to policing is on the agenda. We conducted a poll to let legislators know which changes Virginians support. Unsurprisingly, the poll showed that a majority of people support major structural reforms to policing in Virginia.
The poll was carried out on our behalf by Public Policy Polling from June 26-27th. It showed that 51% of Virginians support major structural reforms to policing in the commonwealth. An additional 34% believe minor reforms are needed while only 13% would not support any changes. The support for major changes has wide support from younger voters, with 70% of those 18-29 and 68% of those 30-45 years old wanting to see major structural reforms or the abolishment of police.
Here are some other interesting numbers from the poll:
- 61% support stricter use of force policies that ban the use of chokeholds and chemical agents like tear gas
- 93% support mandating the use of dashboard and body cameras by police officers
- 80% support requiring independent investigations into incidents of police violence
- 83% support increasing police training standards, including training on bias and profiling
- 72% support establishing uniform accountability standards for police officers, up to and including losing their job
Everyone deserves to be safe with the opportunity to thrive in our communities. This poll makes it clear that Virginians are calling out for change because we are done seeing Black people murdered and protestors brutalized in the streets. Members of the General Assembly must take swift and bold action to not only to overhaul public safety and community investments so they support all of us, no exceptions.
Legislators need to act now to show all of us that Black and Brown lives matter and police will be held accountable for their actions. Email your legislator today to encourage them to take bold action to hold police accountable and reallocate funding so that community members are prioritized over excessive police budgets.