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Operation "Slowdown Memphis" launching to stop Memphis highway shootings

The operation will have a multi-agency presence along the highways.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee Highway Patrol, Memphis Police, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office are teaming up for operation "Slowdown Memphis."

It's targeting all violations on Memphis interstates and highways, especially the shootings. 

"Officers will work to suppress and prevent interstate shootings enforcing all laws governing reckless driving and excessive speeding," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. "Officers will also identify counterfeit tags and stolen vehicles during the operation while issuing citations and making physical arrests holding violators responsible for their actions."

Driver Terry Taylor said this initiative will make him feel safer while driving. 

"It should have happened sooner, but it’s perfect timing because it’s been happening more now and it’s getting more dangerous," Taylor said.

A similar short-term operation called "Grizzly Bear" helped stop the highway shootings almost completely in 2019. They capped at 46 in total that year. 

"They should have kept it going from the beginning," Driver Derrick Yarbor said. "It would have prevented the ones that are happening now."

Data from MPD shows of the 77 shootings in 2021, more have happened at I-240 and Getwell, I-240 and Perkins, and 385 and Ridgeway. 

Taylor said law enforcement is the only way to stop the violence on Mid-South highways. 

"It should always be the answer," Taylor said. "I don’t see it any other way."

"Slowdown Memphis" begins Thursday.