First off, and I might have explained this to you before, I don't think the majority of cops are looking to take out their aggressions on others. There are certainly some, but it's the exception not the rule. I also think most of them get into the business for valid reasons. However, I also think the nature of the job turns them away from that more often than not. Simply put, most people who become cops aren't assholes, but the job has a tendency to turn them into just that for a variety of reasons.
Now, you're correct that bending the rules is a binary thing (I was actually thinking the opposite, BTW--there are degrees of bending, but since it's a replacement for breaking rules, it is in fact quite binary). Something else that is quite binary is corruption. Corruption need not be bad acting. Somebody here posted a story in my "cop stories" thread about a cop not citing him for speeding because he recognized him as the guy who served him pizza. This pissed me off since I don't have a job that affords me the regular opportunity to make nice with cops to catch a break down the line. Giving a break to somebody because you like him is no different than extorting a blowjob from some prostitute; they're both corruption. It's letting your personal feelings, motivations or perspectives influence how you do or do not carry out your job. This is something that happens more often than not in law enforcement. If your brother pulled you over for driving 80 in a 65 would he write you for it? Would he write me for the same thing?
This is at the heart of my problem with cops. To varying degrees their personal feelings and motivations will always dictate how they do their job. I would have to call that exploiting one's authority. Moreover, if you spend all of your time dealing with certain types of people, you're going to develop opinions on them that will further influence how you do your job. All of this is basic human nature and the surprising part would be if it weren't the case. As others here can attest, I look like a doper. Isn't it likely that when Johnny sees me he might make such an assumption. Isn't it also the case that he might look for any reason to pull me over? And then any reason to toss my car? A friend and I were pulled over because "we didn't look like we belonged in the neighborhood" (2 blocks from his home). We then had the car completely tossed because a baseball bat was in the backseat. All bullshit, honestly, and not an isolated event. Nobody I know hasn't had numerous instances of such things happening.
Let me say that we've had this conversation before, yet this is a very different (in a positive way) version.
I think now that we're down to definitions, we're on to something. As you can guess, I am more than willing to give cops the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they should get special treatment, but I don't think they deserve half (most?) of the abuse they get. Having said that, I don't actually disagree with much that you wrote there. When I hear "corruption" I immediately think "NYC in 1974", not "letting the guy that delivers my pizza off with a verbal warning". I will send your head into convulsions here, but I, in a very real way, do not have to worry about a speeding ticket ever again (though I don't take advantage of it). I have had this conversation in some form or fashion at least three times (incidentially, in three different states) in the last five years:
"Here's your ticket, the response date is on the bottom. You need to..."
"I know what I need to do; I've been here before. Thanks for your service, and I don't mean that sarcastically; my brother is on the job too. He's a traffic cop in [insert City]."
"Dude... you should have told me before I put it in the system. I can't do anything now I called it in, but I wouldn't have written you if I had known."
If that's corruption, then I agree with you. And I can't and won't defend it except to say that I do STRONGLY disagree that it is a "short hop" (my words) to beating someone. I respect you for having your principles in that regard (seriously) but that level of corruption is systemic in all walks of life, not just cops. We can debate whether cops should (or even can) be different, but I guarantee you people in service industries like that do this all the time. How many times have you seen people walk into a bar and drink for free, if not all night, then at least a round or two? Be it because they played softball for the bar, or did some work on the side for the bar, or whatever. Quid pro quo (or in economic terms, "transfer payments").
Also, if you think about it, isn't trying to get a family friend hired on in a position you know him to be unqualified for also an example of corruption? Departments will generally tolerate dopers and drunks, but they will never hire them. Past drug use is almost always an immediate DQ.
Well, in this case (and I am not adjusting the facts to argue.
he was qualified (it was not an officer position, but admin in the Department) and would not have been DQ'd for the drug use. He was DQ'd because he lied on the forms (even the pop was because it proved that he lied on the forms, though if the app went further it could have been enough to disqualify him). My bro didn't do anything against policy in that instance; if he helped cover it up to help a "friend", he would have.
As for "what you look like", well, that is a different discussion, no? I get the notion - the somewhat idealist notion - that we should all be judged by the "content of our character" not the metaphoric in this case "color of our skin", but is that again indemic only to cops? I look like a right and proper WASP now, but I had long(er) hair back in the day, and fit in nicely at the Dio and Maiden shows I frequented in my youth, and I do notice a difference. Is that bad? Honest question: what responsibility do I have in how I am perceived? This is somewhat of a metaphysical discussion, but isn't it part of our DNA to perceive our situations and assess danger in any way we can? Why are cops different in this regard? Are you familiar with the study that "tested" for "gaydar"? People can tell - with up to 80% accuracy (which is VERY high when you consider that gay males only make up about 2% of the overall population) http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/05/16/study-finds-gaydar-up-to-80-percent-accurate-on-sexuality
(In fairness, this is not the only study; I know of one other that somewhat contradicts this, in that the rate was about 70%, wasn't limited to sexuality, and said MALE gayness was more accurate than lesbianism (which was about the same as random chance). The only other "group" that had a better rate of detection was....can you guess?)