BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A new study by SafeWise.com ranks police officers in Alabama the second most overworked in the nation.
Birmingham Police get close to 15,000 calls a month, and that call load alone could be to blame for this study’s results.
But after speaking with multiple law enforcement officials, we learned it’s not just the work that’s stressing these officers out.
“A lot of people forget just how much police officers are called upon every day,” said Sgt. Heath Boackle with the Fraternity Order of Police Lodge 1.
The new study just released by SafeWise ranked Alabama officers as being the second most overworked in the nation with 32.42 crimes per officer and 2.19 officers per 1,000 people.
Captain Johnny Evans with the Vestavia Hills Police Department said, “The stress level has gone way up. I’ve been doing this for 28 years and it’s a lot more stressful now than when I first started.”
Both men said the heavier call loads are contributing to heavier workloads for officers.
“A lot of our officers are worried that somebody’s going to do something to harm them,” said Captain Evans. “That every car they stop, they’re worried about, 'Hey, is this going to be it? Is this going to be the one that gets out and wants to fight? Gets out to shoot?’”
The study said six out of the top ten states with the most overworked police officers have a poverty rate above the national average of 12.8%, with Alabama’s state poverty level reported as 15.8% in the study.
Sgt. Boackle said the nationwide officer shortage doesn’t help with stress.
Both men added that with the recent shooting deaths of two Alabama police officers, the emotional stress is taking a toll on officers as well.
“It’s one thing going and seeing a dead body and having to work that scene. That’s tough to go home to a normal life. But it’s a whole other animal when you have not only a coworker, but a supervisor, and he’s been shot, and ultimately passed,” said Sgt. Boackle.
He encourages officers to go to employee assistance and talk to someone so officers don’t carry the job home with them.
You can find a list of the most and least overworked officers by clicking here.