Posted by: Marlenia Thornton

Race and policing has been a hot topic in our nation.

This comes after some high–profile killings of black men involving police officers.

A new study looks at how racial attitudes affect support for police reform like the proper use of deadly force.

It examined feelings of threat among Americans in regards to black men or police officers.

University of Nebraska– Lincoln assistant professor Ingrid Haas helped with the research.

She said these feelings influence support for change and race does play a factor.

"It suggests that racial attitudes are influencing to an extent whether people say it's OK to use force that may not be justified in those situations,” UNL Political Science Assistant Professor Ingrid Haas, Ph.D.

The research said Americans who view black men as threatening are less likely to support police reform.

It also shows those who view police as a threat are more likely to think policing practices need to be changed.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said they strive to build relationships in the community and the perception of threat is harmful to what they do.

"This is problematic and that is contrary to us doing our job in an effective capacity,” Lincoln Police Jeff Bliemeister said.

Professor Haas said when people feel threatened they're less willing to compromise and work together, which is needed for change.

She hopes this study is the first step of recognizing that.

"I think trying to figure how minimizes feelings of threat and get different groups of people to talk to each other is what we really need to work on doing next,” Haas said. 

To look at the full study, click here