I have been retired from law enforcement for ten years. The pay honestly was not all that great when I first started , and did not get "good" until the year before I left. Things have changed, which I will get to in a minute. The things I liked about it:
- Didn't have to deal with creating a professional wardrobe, or deciding what to wear
- Was not sitting at a desk all day long
- each day was different, and, while there were times of boredom, there were variations from day to day
- independence - not under the immediate watchful eye of the supervisor. Was able to exercise independent judgement, and, I appreciated that my superiors were confident in my ability to do so
- camaraderie - we had a great group of officers - it was nice to be able to joke around, throw insults, and have a good time together. And you knew the others would be there if you needed them.
- the job! - people looked up to you, expected you to be able to resolve conflict, and all that stuff. It was usually the little things you did that made the difference - changing a flat tire, talking to kids, etc. Looking for and catching bad guys is exciting for only the first couple of years. (IMHO)
What has changed in ten years? You have to assume that everything you say and do is being recorded. Some depts require that bodycams be on at all times, and if not bodycams, then, expect the citizens to be recording you. These recordings limit your ability to do GOOD for people just as much as they limit your ability to do bad. Dumping out alcohol in the possession of minors, or a little bit of weed, are examples.
Please, do not go into law enforcement for the money (if that is what you are contemplating). You have to be able to deal with people, and adjust your personal life to some pretty crazy hours. You might miss your kids' games, band recitals, etc., work holidays, etc etc. Your decisions are sometimes Monday-morning quarterbacked and you feel like you are the bad guy rather than the good guy. You learn to deal with it all because you love the job - not because of the money!