Birmingham homicide detectives feeling the strain of city's violence

Birmingham homicide detectives feeling the strain of city's violence

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "They're having to sleep at night to the best of their abilities knowing there's families that want closure and they're constantly thinking, 'Did I do this? Did I do that? Or should I have done that differently?  Should I have done that?'".

Those types of strains confront homicide detectives on any case. 

But it's made worse when working to solve eight killings in just ten days.

It's the reality for those within the Birmingham Police Department right now.

"That's a lot," says Sgt. Heath Boackle.

He's president of FOP Lodge One and says the city's month long string of violence has been tough on the entire department, especially detectives who rotate being on call for every twenty-four hours.

"But they still have to come to work the next day, of course, they still have to follow up on the previous homicides. They still have to talk to witnesses that do come forward and really canvass the area," Boackle says.

"A day in the life of a homicide detective here in Birmingham is tough, to say the least just because of the call volume that they have."

Finding witnesses can be one of the toughest parts.

Boackle says Birmingham is one of the hardest cities in Jefferson County to get the community to work with police.

"We've got to have the public participation in helping solve these cases.  If not, it's going to continue because no one's going to be held accountable."

He understands there may be citizens who may have had a bad experience with an officer, but says the department is large enough that they may know someone else who works in the city.

"And maybe that's who they can reach out to to say, 'Hey, look, I know this to be true. I witnessed this.' And at least point these homicide detectives in the right direction."

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