Police are civilians. They are the civil power. They are not soldiers. They are subject to the rule of law adjudicated within civilian courts — not military justice. They are tasked with special powers and thus burdened with specific responsibilities and duties — but they’re civilians. They answer to mayors and (civilian) police commissioners and city councils and ultimately the public.
It’s an expression of the dangerous militarization of the police to distinguish them from “civilians” — those who are in fact citizens, fellow citizens, the commonwealth.
Say “police and the community.” Say “police and the public.” Don’t say them and us, even when that’s too often what’s felt. We can’t get from there to here if we encumber cops and everyone else in language that preserves the wall between those of our fellow citizens who carry badges and guns and those whom they serve.