Did you know that police work isn't even in the top ten jobs with the most risk of death? Check it out, starting with most dangerous and ending with the least:
- Construction workers
- Farmers and ranchers
- Drivers, truck drivers
- Electrical power line workers
- Sanitation workers - trash collectors
- Steel workers
- Pilots and flight engineers
Furthermore, most police officer deaths occur in traffic accidents. Not in conflict with an aggressor.
(Source: National census of fatal occupational injuries, 2012)
Personally, I see no reason for a beat/patrolcar cop to carry a weapon at all. Particularly as the evidence shows they're far too willing to use them in non-life threatening situations -- just like this one.
Furthermore, with tasers readily available, many situations that might call for submission of a more powerful (or skilled) individual are still controllable without resorting to the extremes of discharging a firearm.
There's also something to be said for the idea of criminals knowing the cop isn't going to kill them, so it isn't nearly as attractive to kill the cop to prevent that. The fact is, if you think the cop is going to kill you, there's absolutely no downside to killing them first. It is a situation set up in the way most likely to fail.
It's going to get worse, too, as the trend is to more heavily arm the cops -- don't think for a moment that the response won't be more heavily armed criminals. It's as inevitable as the next sunrise.
But you're right. The odds of anything changing are very low. The American Couch Potato League likes armed cops, and they like it when cops do whatever they like -- they absolutely lap up movies and television shows where cops step outside the boundaries of the law, as well as vigilante scenarios. Until, of course, they are the victims. But by that time, they're embroiled with the system, and it's far too late. No one pays known criminals any mind. They're subhuman, after all. And they must have done something to deserve it, even if they "get off" or "plead out."