MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A major crackdown is happening on aggressive drivers on Memphis highways. Tennessee Highway Patrol is now joining MPD and theShelby County deputies to help reduce the number of highway shootings.
The agencies will be part of Operation Grizzly Bear 2019. This operation will go for six weeks and THP will bring in 30 troopers total topatrol.
So far this year, Memphis Police have responded to 32 incidents onhighways in the city.
“I am absolutely fed up with seeing it as the lead onthe news or reading it on the newspapers. I am fed up with our citizens notfeeling safe,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
For the past six months, Mayor Strickland and his administrationhave been working to find solutions to reduce highway shootings happening inour area.
“We went to Nashville and the state legislature to try to changethe law to increase penalties for road rage shootings, and we’ll be back againnext year to try to get it passed,” Mayor Strickland said.
Memphis Police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will finallyget some help.
“We’re going to use all the resources that we have,” said CaptainJimmy Johnson with Tennessee Highway Patrol. “We’re going to use unmarkedcars, marked patrol units. We’re going to strategically place our peopleto supplement what MPD is already doing.”
30 THP troopers will now assist other agencies on thehighways. They’ll be strategically placed along the 240 loop and 385.
“Our patrols won’t be 24 hours, but it will be during the timesthe data has shown that our shootings are occurring,” Captain Johnson said.
“We are going to do everything in our power to enforce laws, toprosecute and incarcerate, and ultimately convict these individuals that arecommitting these crimes,” said Deputy Director Mike Ryall from Memphis Police.
Tennessee Highway Patrol and Memphis Police say they are studyingthe data and found most of these shootings are happening between the hours ofnoon and 3:00 a.m. Although THP won’t be patrolling the full 24 hours daily,Memphis Police say they plan to, so it will be a joint effort.