Being a police officer isn't an especially dangerous profession. It confers power, and privileges in society and the criminal justice system. And it's reasonably well compensated, considering ($27 per hour median wage - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051…
It's expensive to investigate a burglary or sexual assault, to gather evidence for something someone did to someone else somewhere else, so prosecution is difficult, and there's no monetary pay off to the department.
Whereas, it's relatively easy to prove someone was in possession of something, or that they violated any of the countless traffic or vehicle registration laws that exist. If someone had drugs on them, your job is done. If they have enough, you can take their cash and property and pose with it and the drugs, make up a number of what its street value was, and you have prestige on top of more money for more toys. All of the fines and tickets add up, too, and don't take a lot of work.
Being a police officer is not a fun or easy job. I'm not saying that. You deal with people at their worst, and consistently people lie to you about matters big and small, and you have to fill out reports on all of it all of the time. I totally get that.
But it's not just budget cuts. It's the expectation of what they're supposed to do overall: make lots of arrests and collect a lot of fines, and very little else.