A uniform can easily become a target. More military gear might seem safer, but you end up being a slower target.
There are a variety of criminals that want to take our stuff. Some of these criminals are in various governments. They want to control the people in uniforms in order to control the people. They'll give you stuff, but their stuff comes with strings attached.
Meanwhile, there is the community you patrol in.
If they don't trust you, then they aren't likely to come to your aid.
If they are unarmed, they won't be able to come to your aid.
Conversely, if the populace is armed, and they trust you, they are your insurance; they've got your back. The well regulated militia- neighbors, co-workers, etc...