My brother in law, my sister's husband, came from a family that ran Policemen's Balls in cities all across America. My BIL worked for the company for several years. It was, like you say, a total rip off of merchants who are approached by the company phone teams and solicited for "contributions." If they refuse to "contribute" they get on the gun thug shit list. If they contribute a lot, like the $40k you mentioned, they get on the favors list. They do hold a ball, but only a small fraction of the tickets sold actually go. The company gets about 30% for doing the fund raising. It's a sham and a fraud and it goes on in most towns and cities in the US and Canada. What it is amounts to extortion.
Coppers all over the world are corrupt to the core. Some places are obviously worse than others.
Here in West Oz the Feds have had to come over and arrest the major organised crime syndicates for the local coppers. With the West Oz Police Badge looking like this...
Whoa! They've changed the image! It's ACTUALLY an upside down pentagram but with this "new" image they are using it's harder to see. They have changed this recently! I posted an original image on CC a while back but cant find it.
Here is a photo of a Victorian police badge which shows it better...
With badges like these is it any wonder we have our own little posses of corrupt coppers down here.:-)