Originally Posted by Jose the carwash man
I think it is that and the "blue wall" that makes cops feel like they are a class above your average civilian. In most other countries the cops are part of the community first and foremost and *big shocker* actually more interested in the welfare of the people they serve when who get's the newest model of Taser or laser sight.
I don't know if I'd go that far. There are a whole lot of places in the world where the police are basically thugs that get to do more or less what they want, including extortion, beating, etc. A lot of Asian, African, South American, and former Soviet countries fall into this category.
The "Blue Wall"/fraternity mentality is a legitimate thing that happens here, but it's pretty much guaranteed to happen to some degree or another. You have to factor in personality traits that are common in many police officers (very clear-cut, moralistic world view), and the fact that they are at odds with many or most of the people they interact with on a daily basis. They may not be exchanging gunfire or fists with every person they run into, but they deal with plenty of people in an average shift who aren't exactly happy to see them. These things are bound to foster an "us vs. them" mentality to some degree, but for the most part, it's pretty well controlled in this country. My biggest concerns with police in America are policy/administration/tactics oriented, and do not stem from the officers themselves.