This particular posting is in response to my cousin's thoughts on Law Enforcement officers.
First and foremost, I'd like to point out a flaw in the reasoning found within your second paragraph. Power, in and of itself, is *not* good or bad. However, let's discuss the "power" you speak of. A policeman's power is limited only to removing liberty, safety, and occasionally lives, from the citizens he wields this power over. When this power is coupled with human nature, and we as a populace provide extremely little oversight, this power instantly becomes a very dangerous thing.
Yes, officers die in the line of duty. Much like every other occupation, most on-the-job deaths and injuries are the result of accidents. I'd also like to point out that, due to my specific occupation, I am statistically somewhere around ten times more likely to be killed or injured "on the clock" than a policeman is (that comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in case you were thinking I pulled it out of my ass or something). Your buddy's motorcycle-cop of a father was not run down intentionally by a criminal intent on killing a cop...he was injured in a traffic accident, much the same as I was when the idiot in the minivan almost ran me over while traveling down I-10 on my way to school. At the time of the incident, I was working as a CNC machinist. Your buddy's dad was a cop. Our respective occupations had absolutely nothing to do with our accidents, with the exception that your friend's dad was on the clock at the time.
Much like you, I also have friends that I jokingly refer to as "pigs". There's a (now-retired) officer that was with the Angleton PD that I became well-acquainted with when I worked in the attendance office during my senior year of high school. Two of my friends from school became cops, and are now employed with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office...and I'd actually trust my life with them. Not because they wear a badge, but because I know them to be good people in general...and, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't let the power go to their heads.
Yes, police are hated as a pariah by the majority of people who don't know them. Officers know this, and still do the job. Some people even actively wish to kill police officers, yet these officers still go to work. Officers are fully aware that the majority of our State Penal Code is based upon revenue generation and/or penalizing activities that harm absolutely no non-consenting adults, yet they still clock in. It is the fact that, even knowing that the majority of our penal code goes against the tenets of freedom that this nation was founded upon and STILL wish to work as a police officer, that I have very little respect for most of them. At least my friends are honest about why they work as cops.
Just because it hasn't happened TO YOU doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...and you should understand this, otherwise you're going to make a shitty cop. I've only had a gun pointed at my head on three occasions in my lifetime...all were unwarranted, and all three of those pistols were in the hands of men wearing badges. As I've repeatedly mentioned, there have been numerous instances of unlawful arrest, and I have the case dismissals to prove it. You can't open the Houston Chronicle for more than two days in a row without seeing a front-page story relating to police misconduct in some form or fashion. And yes, I have had my front door kicked in by police officers with drawn sidearms...because there were too many cars in my driveway! Not because of a noise complaint, or any illegal activities occurring, but for having too many cars in my driveway! Furthermore, the fact that you knowingly committed a criminal offense that the police deemed worthy of an "investigation" (and readily admitted doing so) should render your privilege of being a Law Enforcement Officer null and void...after all, why should you be allowed to arrest others for a crime that you yourself have committed?
What you see on COPS is the edited version of reality. As I pointed out in a previous post, cops typically run from cameras like Richard Simmons runs from a naked woman. I'd also like to point out that some police actions that have been "legalized" by the state/county/local policies ARE NOT inherently legal according to the United States constitution, and continue to go on only because no one has taken the fight all the way to SCOTUS yet. Beyond this, we must also look at the fact that this state's penal code is slammed full of things that will land a man in prison, even though many of these "crimes" do not affect anyone except the consenting adults involved in these activities. Chapters 46, 47, and most of Chapter 43, of the Texas Penal Code, are coming to mind here. A policeman is not only willing (as evidenced by the fact that he VOLUNTEERED to become a policeman), but able (as evidenced by the fact that his employer has allowed him to perform the task at hand) and AUTHORIZED (as evidenced by his status as a "Licensed Peace Officer") to issue citations and/or confine a person for engaging in acts that don't hurt anyone except, perhaps, those who willfully partake in these acts. Not only is he willing, able, and authorized to issue citations and/or arrest a person for these acts, he is REQUIRED as a condition of his employment to enforce these laws. Ergo, if you are a licensed and employed peace officer in this state, you are REQUIRED to violate my fundamental and basic human rights bestowed upon me by my creator and guaranteed by my constitution, upon my choosing to exercise said rights.
In your last paragraph, you make the assumtion that every man and woman that has ever encountered a policeman has had that encounter occur as a direct result of the violation of a criminal statute...and, knowing from my own personal experience, I can say that this assumption is completely and totally devoid of any truth or fact. Failure to break a law put three slugs in Derek Hale's chest, and a GI-issued flag on his coffin. Not being a criminal put a slug through Robbie Tolan's lung, after protesting the manhandling of his mother, in his own front yard. Just being a law-abiding citizen put a bullet through the back of Oscar Grant, and left his daughter without a father. At least Liko Kenney got some payback for having his car rammed and being pepper-sprayed by a giggling cop, via the sound and fury of some .45cal freedom coming from the business-end of his Glock.
Not breaking any laws is what has led to numerous arrests, extended stays at the "State Motel", beatings, shootings, et cetera at the hands of the police. Every now and again, these jackbooted thugs are even prosecuted...albeit, extremely rarely.
In your last sentence, you ask the question, "So I ask you this, you want protection from the police...but who's going to protect the police? "...and here's my answer: the surest way for a policeman to get protection from those who don't like their rights being raped is, quite simply, to NOT BE A POLICEMAN. If you're not part of the solution, you're either part of the problem or you're part of the landscape. If you don't want to be mowed down with the weeds, get out of the lawn.
Don't forget...there's not a single police officer in this nation that was FORCED to be a police officer. Every single one of them became a police officer of their own volition, and as a grown adult in a free society, should be fully aware of the risks involved with any occupation that person has chosen. Including law enforcement.
I work for a living, and as a result, I bleed for my wages on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, there are fresh bloodstains on the left leg of the pants I'm wearing right now. Much like a policeman, I also know that there are certain risks involved in my job...risks that actually make me more likely to die on the clock. The difference between me and a cop shot "in the line of duty" is quite simple...if a jackstand fails and the rear end of a truck crushes my bean, or if I slip with an air grinder and slice through my wrist, or some jerk runs me over in the parking lot by mistake, NO ONE will be saying that I died while performing a duty to restrict the liberties of others.
On the upside, if this nation continues to go down the path it's on, you won't be hurting for employment...