- handling accidents, clean up, directing traffic etc.
- recovering stolen property
- providing security for public events
- apprehending shoplifters and other theives
- responding to domestic disturbances to protect and insure the peace
- helping people who are broke down at the side of the road
You're exceptionally naive if you think any of this is even remotely the priority of any police force. Number 2 is laughable, number 3 is moot--the departments are usually contracted to handle events--number 4 is mostly handled by private security, number 5 is again laughable, especially if you live in the county where any call other than homocide takes them an hour to respond, number 6 is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. Two times have I been approached by cops when my ride was broke down. The first one asked if I had a tow coming. I said yes, and he turned around and walked away without another word. The second time, they interrogated me about the fact that it was the middle of the night and I had to leave my vehicle in order to walk a mile down the road, get a gas can, fill it up, and walk back to my van. No help whatsoever, just snooping around to see if I had pot, insulting me directly and using intimidation to test my claim that it was, in fact, my vehicle.