jamiebk wrote:....remanded to the parents' custody for futher educating...although in this case the parents seem complicit
Therein lies much of the problem. The police have become the bad guys, even though more often than not they are merely enforcing the letter of the law, even though they may not agree with the specific requirements thereof. If the law is wrong, take it out on the lawmakers, not the enforcers. Their livelihood and, in extreme cases, their freedom is at stake if they fail to enforce the law as written, even if it is written poorly.
Domestic violence laws are a case-in-point. Current law in many states (including, I believe, your home State of California) require that police make an arrest anytime they are called in on a domestic disturbance, even when there is no evidence of violence or threat thereof. Police are often apologetic as they make the arrest, pointing out that they have no alternative, but they are often reviled for it, nonetheless. Police frequently do not have the discretion to exercise judgement in such cases.