It's a shitty, thankless job where you get to enjoy the worst of human behavior.
They should get a different job then. When you find one that isn't shitty and thankless, let us know.
and occasionally your life is on the line
The job of police officer is not nearly as dangerous as your friends would have you believe. Again, if they don't like it, they can GTFO.
Many of them were soldiers who enlisted, had a gun put in their hand at 18 years old, and taught to kill other people.
If they enlisted, the gun wasn't put in their hands, they reached out and grabbed it. Yet again, their personal choice.
A lot of them are pretty nice work-a-day randos just trying to get through life like the rest of us.
Randos, with guns, authority, and an us vs. them attitude. If you are talking about the so-called "good cops", then show me the story where the "good cop" turned in his co-worker for corruption, violence, etc, and wasn't persecuted by his remaining co-workers. Until police end the Blue Code of Silence (Blue Wall, Blue Shield), then there is no such thing as a good cop. Police who won't enforce the law against other police are just as bad as the law breaker.