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Should Police Unions Have Less Power? New Polling Data Suggests Yes

The Center for Union Facts (CUF) released new polling data on the public perception of police unions. The polling is part of CUF’s ongoing national education campaign surrounding police unions — and their collective bargaining agreements — that protect bad cop behavior and fight most reform efforts. The campaign website can be seen at

Key polling takeaways include*:

  • 68 percent of respondents believe it is more important to make it easier to get bad cops off the street than to protect all cops;
  • 62 percent of respondents believe police union powers should be reduced;
  • 34 percent of respondents would be less likely to vote for a candidate who has been supported by police unions.
It’s no wonder the survey found that more than 60 percent of people believe police unions should have their power reduced. As a recent opinion piece from CUF’s communications director argues, “Police unions consistently fight for collective bargaining agreements that make it hard to hold bad officers accountable and keep disciplinary records hidden from the public. ”

For one, many police union CBAs include lengthy appeals processes. This means a “stunningly high percentage” of officers that are fired for misconduct actually end up getting rehired. One study found that 88 percent of police collective bargaining agreements “contained at least one provision that could thwart legitimate discipline.” That included limiting “officer interrogations after alleged misconduct,” mandating “the destruction of disciplinary records,” and limiting “the length of internal investigations.”

Imagine if civilians were subject to similar rules? Police officers would undoubtedly be up in arms — and rightfully so. But their unions don’t seem to mind the double standard. Many even have a history of fighting laws or reform efforts that would promote transparency.

*The survey was live on July 29-31, 2020 and was conducted from an online sample of 1,004 adults 18 years of age and older.


Categories: Police Union Facts