How do we live? I can only speak for what I see in NY. Most cops I know own a house, some rent but the same as any other profession.
How prestigious and respectful is the profession? That depends. After the WTC Attack cops were heroes. Then after Ferguson Missouri we were racist killers. The media has a big part in how much prestige and respect cops get.
How much do we earn in comparison to other jobs? That all depends on what Department you work for. Some Departments pay very high pay, others not so high. It all depends on contracts between the Unions and the City’s. NYPD is one of the lowest paid Departments in the NY area. The Police in the town that I live in makes way more than I could ever make in the NYPD. But NYPD cop makes more than most of my friends make at their jobs.
What are the pros and cons of being a policeman in the US? Pros: Health benefits, Paid Vacation, Pension Steady Pay. Cons: Long hours, missed family time, work holidays, poor sleep, bad food.