See how Jackson residents feel about police department

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — How do you think your community feels about its police department?

6 News is taking a look at the results of a recent survey focusing on the Jackson Police Department, and how it will shape the department in the future.

This past spring, surveys went out 3,500 city of Jackson residents.

287 were completed and returned.

“It’s a big enough sample size for the baseline,” said Dr. John Hawthorne, a sociology professor at Spring Arbor University.

Hawthrone drafted and processed the survey, finding positive results.

“Personally, 90 percent of them felt positive or very positive toward the Jackson Police Department,” Hawthorne said.

The survey also found that roughly six out of 10 people reported positive interactions with Jackson police officers.

Only 8 percent of respondents reported no positive interactions.

With questions about race, age, gender, and social class on the survey, Hawthorne noticed some differences when it comes to minorities.

“On how people thought their friends and family viewed the police department,” Hawthorne said.

There are also differences with how younger working class residents view police.

“Might have slightly more negative attitudes,” Hawthorne said.

The professor is now working with the department to see how this information can be put into action.

“Being mindful in the way in which normal law enforcement interactions might be perceived by people, and how those might then be used to paint a picture of the entire police department,” Hawthorne said.

Chief Elmer Hitt is pleased with the outcome.

“It kind of confirmed that we’re doing good things out there, but as well gave us some things to build upon,” Hitt said.

He was glad to see how many people are willing to work with police and want more officers involved with community events.

“Those are the types of things we do now. But I definitely we think we can do more of, and build upon those,” Hitt said.

When it comes to those who have negative views of Jackson Police, Chief Hitt says it’s important that his officers continue to treat people with respect.

“If you treat people with professionalism and respect you’re going to come out ahead,” Hitt said.

Chief Hitt says he’ll be sitting down with his command staff very soon to go over the survey results and possibly put plans into action.

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