Elon Poll: NC residents support police body cameras
Posted March 11, 2015
Alamance County, N.C. — Nine out of 10 people in North Carolina support the idea of police officers wearing body cameras while on duty, and nearly two-thirds of residents believe footage from the devices should be made available to the public, according to a new Elon University Poll.
The survey, conducted Feb. 16-20, involved 867 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of 3.33 percentage points.
Although there was near-unanimous agreement about the concept of police body cameras, the release of that footage varied along ideological and racial lines.
Though 91 percent of respondents say they support on-duty police officers wearing body cameras, 63 percent believe footage should be made public.
Political persuasion may sway attitudes about the public release of videos, as 70 percent of Democrats favor such transparency, while only 48 percent of Republicans feel the same.
There's also a divide among racial lines. Among African-American respondents, 78 percent said videos should be made available to the public compared with 58 percent of whites.
The Elon Poll also found that the public is almost evenly split in its approval of local police departments utilizing unmanned aerial drones for surveillance.
Forty-seven percent of respondents approve, and 45 percent disagree with the policy. A slight partisan difference exists on the question: 56 percent of Republicans approve of drones, compared with 46 percent of Democrats.
“Support for police body cameras is nearly universal and is clearly a response to increased media attention on police shootings, especially the incident in Ferguson, Mo.,” Assistant Professor Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll, said Wednesday. “While national surveys have shown substantial support for the use of unmanned aerial drones for surveillance in other countries, the Elon Poll found support is far more limited when discussing their use by local law enforcement here in the United States.”