Virtually every discussion on the new immigration law in Arizona leads critics to conclude that civil rights violations, racial profiling and police misconduct are inevitable. Last summer, before Arizona’s SB1070 was even on the national radar President Obamaspoke of generally of “the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause.”
In light of sentiments like these the results of the annually conducted Gallup Poll on professions American’s consider the most honest and ethicalmay come as a surprise. Police Officers were ranked #4 on the most recent list, closely behind Pharmacists and MDs. In fact, police officers have been consistently in the top 5 in recent years. The 2009 poll was taken in November, after the Professor Gates arrest that prompted the Presidents criticism of the police, resulting in the highest opinion of police officers since the peak at the end of 2001.
Although President Obama’s comments seem to have had little negative impact on public opinion of police ethics, other highly publicized events may. The trend, which is positive overall, reached a low point the year of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Mark Furhman became a household name by refusing to answer questions on the witness stand just a few months before the 1995 poll was taken, and those results were 22 points lower than today.