Being a retired LEO, this is kind of hard for me to say. I think the "us versus them" mentality has permeated LE to the point that many LEOs are simply operating in "scared" mode these days. I was watching a COPS show the other day, Guys roll up to a little DC call, they've got 2 or 3 units for backup, frisks everybody involved and puts everybody in handcuffs, victim, witnesses, actor, everybody just to find find out what's going on. WTH?
Seems we both agree that the only LEO's that still hold to the traditional principles of "protect and serve" are Forest Rangers, Game and Fish officers, and it's hit-and-miss with County Sheriff deputies, probably depending on the training atmosphere with each county. I've had a lot of respect for Coconino and Maricopa deputies that I've met so far. The rest (municipal officers) are so traumatized by the pretense that they work in a supposed war zone, they're ready to mace/taze/shoot anyone that doesn't ask "how high" when they say "jump."
IMO there has always been a marked difference in the tactics and attitudes involved with Sheriff Dept, Game Wardens, etc than municipal agencies. I always attributed it to the fact that generally speaking the former were much more likely to be on their own to handle a situation with backup sometimes 15-30 minutes away. I always found it much better to ask for co-operation than demand it. Never doubt that co-operation was gained one way or the other. But I really never feared the common man, I wanted them on my side.
We had a sheriff elected who was a former PD officer and as he started the municipalizing of the SO by bringing in old chronies from his PD the image of the SO began to change. He did away with the traditional brown uniforms for (what else) dark blue, changed the patch from a star to a shield and it was pretty much down hill from there.
Caveat: I fully realize that times change, chances are old school ways won't work these days. My retirement came at just the right time.