Could somebody please help me. Is the word POLICE plural or singular?

As far as I know I have only heard people say "Police are still looking....Police were not able to arrest....

Now a friend of mine insists that Americans mainly use police in a singular form as in "The police is/was unable to identify...etc.

What is a native speaker's stand on this? Are there regional differences in the US or is the singular form plain wrong?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
3. (used with a pl. verb) Police officers considered as a group.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc.
2. (used with a pl. v.) members of such a force: Several police are patrolling the neighborhood.


By Michael Swan
8. Police is a plural noun.
The police are looking for him. (NOT The police is looking for him.)
I called the police, but they were too busy to come.
It is the department as a whole..  The police department, the police station, etc.  Then it becomes police officer, detective, etc, to say as a single person.  In Ireland, it is the Gardi (dept) Garda (officer) Emotion: smile
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