Great question that deserves an honest answer, not a public relations answer.
I spent four years in military law enforcement (LE) and 30+ years of civilian LE in a Los Angeles County city in Southern California. The military LE was uneventful, although my service taught me team work, discipline and an "others before self" attitude.
My civilian LE service consisted of 12 years working the streets and 18 years as an investigator assigned to homicide. I had no allusions of what I was getting into. I knew that law enforcement is kind of like being society's parents. Parents have their children's best interests in mind but have to use a combination of love and discipline to help them grow and prosper, while still holding them accountable for their actions. As a father of four AND a police officer, I applied many of the same strategies at home and at work. I also experienced many of the same ups and downs!
Working the streets was probably the most important part of my career because it was often the first (and hopefully the last) contact a citizen may have with the police. How I conducted myself and how professional I was (or was not) could form their opinion FOREVER! We needed then, and need more than ever today, to keep that in mind! And in the interest of full disclosure I sometimes failed! But failure has never been an option in my life so I recognized the failures and took proactive action to be better, both for the citizens and my own well being!
I also tried to resist cynicism which many officers fail to do! If you work in a negative reality day in and day out, you are bound to become negative! If you force yourself to keep the negative in perspective and dwell on the positive your body, soul and family will thank you for it later!
Being a cop was very rewarding but also very stressful at times. Unlike other professions, making people happy can NOT be the main focus! Doing what is right, fair and just all must come first. Someone will always be happy and someone will always resent you. That is the nature of the beast!
Not sure if this was a helpful answer but it was an honest one. Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your life and always remember: If it has your signature on it, make sure it was the absolute BEST you could do!