Beautifully written, and such good insight into the issues. I especially like your bridge span analogy.
I notice that you also linked to an article by Larry Smith Jr, ‘I Was A Police Officer For 18 Years…’ Actually your note over there is what drew me to this article and I’m glad it did. I worked with & for law enforcement for 3 years in the 1980’s before beginning work at a prison. I saw the abuse of power, the struggle of cops involved who did not support those abuses; the cops who tried to be ethical and the ways it ultimately isolated them; the attitudes of cops toward the areas they patrolled, the people they arrested, the misogyny and racism; and the ways that command seemed to reward the bullies.
My observations are 30+ years old, and maybe at the beginning of the move away from neighborhood patrols where cops knew the people who made up their patrol area. I think that move along with the militarization of police departments has contributed greatly to where we are now. On the other side of that chasm is the public perception that all cops are bad, power-drunk. There are cops like those you write about who do try to not be that ‘bad cop.’ I think they are in the majority, but their patrol areas have forgotten how much a cup of coffee means to them.