Firstly, I will outline the major differences of our police force to that of the USA;
Our officers do NOT carry a firearm on their person. They do carry tazers however that is more recently, up until a few years ago all they carried was battons (billy clubs) and mace at the most.
Our laws around alcohol consumption are a lot more relaxed and realistic.
An independant authority handles the police complaints processes, it is not done internally.
You are treated like a human being and with the presumption of innocence at all times. The police are generally friendly and helpful.
The police will taxi you home if you are lost or drunk (but not disorderly) rather than harrass you about what you are doing on the streets at night. Cops will not pull up beside you at 4am if they don't suspect you or have a valid reason of any wrongdoing on your behalf. At least this has never happened to me and as I don't drive I walk the streets as much as or more than anyone and it would have happened to me if it was a regular occurance.
Gang members outnumber police officers and have acccess to far more firearms and weapons, yet the police and gangs have a cordial relationship for the most part and do work together at times.
Police records are wiped when you turn 17, unless for very serious offending.
Being drunk in public is not a crime for someone of any age. Only being drunk combined with disorderly. So it is much harder for the police to abuse a phoney law to lock you up for no reason.
The drinking age is 18 across the board, and 16 for sexual consent. It doesn't vary from territory to territory. 18 is a more realistic age for drinking. You can vote or fight a war so why not?
The police exercise discretion and take a more common sense approach to policing.
For example, in my country of New Zealand, a more common sense approach is taken toward road policing. You are treated more like a human being and less like a robot. I hear from my American friends there are stupid unrealistc laws around alcohol and driving, for example no open containers anywhere in the automobile. In New Zealand there is no such law. Even the driver can be driving on the highway drinking any alcoholic beverage he/she likes and nothing can be done, as long as the drivers BAC level is under the prescribed drink driving limit. The passengers can do whatever they want, drink as much as they want, and why not, they are not operating the car. To me this is an example of being treated more like an adult and with the presumption of innocence and the benefit of the doubt, something you don't get so much of with USA policing.
I don't condone drunk driving, however I do think the issue is way overblown. Most of the time it's too subjective to tell how much % the alcohol was actually to blame, it's usually only a contributing factor at most. Reckless driving is more often than not the culprit. Blood alcohol limits are unrealistic as people have different tollerances, it depends on what you have eaten, and so on. A field sobriety test should be the default method used. Some of my friends could have 8 beers in an hour and I would trust them driving me in a car, others I would take their keys after only 3 or 4. BAC is a one sized fits all aproach that is unrealistic. NZ does adopt BAC also but our limit is more realistic and allows you to drive after 4 or 5 beers, the penalties are also more the higher you are over, so punishments are stagnated, only a fine will be issued if you are only marginally over the lower level as can accidentally happen, and loss of licence might occur only with blatant offending. And although people don't like to admit it, your base driving ability does play quite a big role. Good drivers don't tend to have accidents (that they can prevent, sober or not, anyway), and get any professional motor racing driver blackout drunk, he would still probably never crash the car, just in the same way as Michael Jordon could have 30 beers and still go out there and play a better basketball game than even most professionals could. I feel our laws go closer to acknowledging this fact by giving more of a safety net.
Laws are also more relaxed at sporting events. You certainly do not have to go through an x-ray machine or get wanded. Only at the airport will that ever happen to you in this country. Bags are not madatorily searched at most sporting stadiums. Your not supposed to bring your own alcohol in, however it's easy enough to sneak in and they don't crack down on it, they focus more on troublemakers, and acknowledge that they have bigger fish to fry. You can sit in the bleachers drinking your own store bought alcohol and it's unlikely you will be identified or removed as long as it isn't too blatant and your drinking the same brands they sell at the game. There aren't even police at most games, just event security.
New Zealand schools and Universities and colleges don't have police officers or even their own security guards (outside operating hours might be different) for the most part, it isn't needed in most cases.
I'm not sure what the correlation is between armed police and unarmed police, and crime. England does not arm their cops either and their crime rate is high, though I don't know if attacks on officers are common or not. Closer to home Australian police are armed and a bit rougher around the edges than here. Attacks on them are not common nor citizens being killed unlawfully. What I do know is that the USA has had hundreds of citizens unlawfully killed by their police in the last year or so, yet England, New Zealand, Australia etc. have had so much fewer, even for head of population it is much higher in USA than anywhere, scarilly so. I don't pretend to have the solution.
Our police aren't perfect. Far from it. But they do at least treat you more like human beings. They walk softly, talk softly, and yet don't carry the big stick unless they really need it. Yet rarely does a cop get killed on the beat here. A few have happened in the last 5 or 6 years but before than none for over 20 years. People in America just can't fathom the idea of an unarmed police force, but it may be the lesser of two evils. Being killed by a policeman simply isn't a credible threat here unless you shoot at them or point your gun directly at them. That fact alone makes NZ a very appealing place to live for a lot of my American friends, things with USA cops are getting that bad.
I'm not sure any police force in the world totally lives up to the motto of to serve and protect, and i'm not even sure they can, or even if they should have to try and protect us, but I feel our cops at least come closer to that motto. They aren't perfect. They still don't get the same sentences as regular citizens. They are still too self protecting. They focus too much on revenue gathering quotas. They still view overseas cops as a brotherhood and try too hard to impress the big boys at the FBI when it's their chance to shine on the world stage, such as in cases like the Kim Dotcom arrest in 2013 for example, sending helicopters and over 50 armed officers to arrest 3 computer nerds in a mansion in a plush isolated country getaway. But they aren't above the law either. A police officer here who killed someone in circumstances like Fergusson would most likely never ever wear the badge again and go to jail for a long time. The badge at least stands for something here. Police officers treat you with respect. They are the ones saying sir, please and thank you. They will give you the benefit of the doubt more times than not, where you would be cuffed and booked in the USA. You don't feel like a prisoner in your own airport here. They do not harrass people, pull you over for no reason and so on. They are not ruthless individuals on a power trip who are trained to shoot first, and ask questions later. They are not accepting washed up military recruits in their training academies. They are not out looking for trouble or making it when they can't find any, at least not on a broad scale. For the most part, don't fuck with them, and they wont fuck with you. And thats the way it should be. To serve and protect.
I love America and I love Americans. But i'm not sure I could ever live there with the police force as it stands currently. I'm not sure I could tollerate being treated like a prisoner in my country of residence. I couldn't tollerate it, and nobody should ever have to.