My comments in bold.
(4) policing is not an especially high status job, so people who are insecure are going to suffer from some sort of status anxiety.You don't get into this job to get rich. But that being said, I get paid ok.
In regards to both points.
First, while becoming a LEO in the US certainly doesn't make one rich it does make one financially set. Across the country on average a police officer makes ~20% more than their fellow Americans. Given how that curve is laid out (fat on the low side and thin on the high) that puts them well above most Americans. Rich? No, but pretty well off. On top of that government employees tend to have great benefits and a pension. The latter has all but disappeared from civilian life. In short - if you become a police officer on average in this country you are far better off than your fellow Americans financially.
Second, as far as the status of the job my observations have been it depends where one falls on the socioeconomic spectrum. The lower you are or if you grew up on the low end you tend to view cops negatively. If you're on the high end or grew up in an area in the high end you tend to view cops favorably.
My beef with police retirement/pensions is we are told that they need to retire on gold plated benefits because the job is so stressful that they are burned out after 20 years, but most then go on to another department or aspect of LE and do another 10-20 years and double dip. If it's so damned horrible, why do they jump right back in for another go? If you want the goodies after 20 years because you're fried on LE then you shouldn't be able to jump right back in for a two-fer. Get a job delivering meals on wheels or selling cars or some such.
There are lots of issues with those pensions.
Here locally for a few years we had an ongoing issue with government/police pensions. It was described that the police union effectively negotiated with themselves when writing the contract. As such some of the rules were easily abused such as officers saving up their vacation, getting it paid out right before retirement, and then their lifetime pension would be based off that final, gamed paycheck.
In some places in the country the pensions are unsustainable but protected by state constitutions. Any effort to get that protection stripped or the pensions renegotiated is met with the usual "but our job is so dangerous and stressful/why are you soft on crime/etc." propaganda. The issue is serious enough in the eyes of some economists that they feel it could have a significant negative impact on local economies if not addressed. Shock, surprise, if your government has unrealistic obligations to retirees that trumps basic services... yeah, that would be bad.
Honestly at this point I don't even see why they should get a pension (and this goes for all government employees). They're already making more than the majority of people they serve. Renegotiate the contracts so taxpayers pay out less for a matching 401(k) like the rest of us get, if we're lucky, and have these folks manage their own retirement. They still come out on top compared to us whereas currently they come out leagues ahead of the rest of us. Would also eliminate the issue you brought up.
Edited by Skywalkre, 11 December 2017 - 2102 PM.