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Dr. David Thrasher of Montgomery was most recently recognized for his work leading Alabama's capital city through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Thrasher has turned his attention to another challenge he believes the city must face.

This week, Thrasher spoke to WAKA News to express his concern about the rapidly rising crime rate in Montgomery.

“COVID was the two hardest years of my life, but I said we have another pandemic now and I just can't keep my mouth shut,” said Thrasher, who has lived in the city for 74 years.

He said he was first forced to act after his own home in Montgomery was robbed.

“I started doing research, and we do have high crime rates,” Thrasher explained. “Eighty-five percent of cities our size – between 100,000 and 200,000 people – are safer than we are. We have the highest murder rate per capita and the highest burglary rate per capita. Our murder rate is higher than Chicago's.”

One recent shooting he mentioned was particularly tragic.

“Every day, someone comes to the emergency room with a shooting. Last weekend, there were 15 shootings. Four of them were life-threatening. This year, 18 students were shot in Montgomery. 12 died. It's not just about the murder of 20- or 30-year-olds. It's our children who are being murdered.”

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The former Montgomery County coroner also pointed to the alarming number of officer resignations compared to new hires in recent months.

“We have $60 million in reserve in the city right now. We have $5 million from the last two years in unspent, budgeted MPD money. Mainly because we're short on staff. Use that money to pay overtime for our sheriff's deputies, ALEA or even private presidential security. We need to send troops to the scene,” Thrasher said. “Time is not on our side either. We're losing people. We're down 7,000 people while Birmingham and Huntsville are growing. We're going to lose our tax base.”

“We have lost 33 MPD officers in the last three months. We have hired three.

For Thrasher, the goal of his efforts is simple.

“I want to try to make a difference in Montgomery. My goal is to be the spark that lights the fire and gets everyone talking about the crime problem.”

Dr. Thrasher said in his remarks that he believes hiring a police chief who truly understands the city and its needs is one of the quickest ways to improve crime rates. Another top priority, according to Thrasher, should be hiring more police officers.

Thrasher is an original founder and board member of the Boys and Girls Club Foundation. He was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2024. He has previously been honored by Governor Kay Ivey and the state legislature.

Austen Shipley is an editor at Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on X @ShipleyAusten.

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