Some call for eliminating the police, especially after Ferguson. But can we survive without them?
Yes, but poorly.
Civilization could continue, but it would not flourish. The majority of cultures in the past did, but with some rules. Predictably, as in the past, crime ran rampant without enforcement.
A void left by the elimination of police would open floodgates for military to enforce a brand of law and order directed by government. This enforcement would be swift and brutal with little recourse.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) are a part of communities; they know the locals, their needs, and wants. Typically, they have fair and just views of the community, while the military tends to have rules dictating only black or white. Who doesn't like laws at one time or another? Most of our opinions of laws and LEOs are a result of personal involvement we have with them.
Now there are some who believe civilization would actually survive in a utopian state without LEOs and that a contemporary civilization will always make whatever changes are necessary in order to survive.
Great. Maybe so. However, this ideal would not be complete without some group to be an enforcer of the changes. Yes, full circle, but they would only enforce the changes the majority wanted.
The circle continues to grow - what about those who do not think the enforcer is working for them? They become the undesirables; the minority lurking in the dark, waiting for a chance for retaliation on the majority.
The way I see it, the LEOs are respected by some of the people all of the time; all of the people some of the time; but they are not respected by all of the people all of the time. If we support the local police, the "all of the people all of the time" will grow in everyone's favor.