THP pairs with MPD, SCSO to increase patrols on Memphis’ highways

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A major crackdown is happening on aggressive drivers on Memphis highways. Tennessee Highway Patrol is now joining MPD and the Shelby 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 to patrol.  

So far this year, Memphis Police have responded to 32 incidents on highways in the city.

“I am absolutely fed up with seeing it as the lead on the news or reading it on the newspapers. I am fed up with our citizens not feeling safe,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.  

For the past six months, Mayor Strickland and his administration have been working to find solutions to reduce highway shootings happening in our area.  

“We went to Nashville and the state legislature to try to change the law to increase penalties for road rage shootings, and we’ll be back again next year to try to get it passed,” Mayor Strickland said.  

Memphis Police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will finally get some help.  

“We’re going to use all the resources that we have,” said Captain Jimmy Johnson with Tennessee Highway Patrol. “We’re going to use unmarked cars, marked patrol units. We’re going to strategically place our people to supplement what MPD is already doing.” 

30 THP troopers will now assist other agencies on the highways. They’ll be strategically placed along the 240 loop and 385.  

“Our patrols won’t be 24 hours, but it will be during the times the data has shown that our shootings are occurring,” Captain Johnson said.  

“We are going to do everything in our power to enforce laws, to prosecute and incarcerate, and ultimately convict these individuals that are committing these crimes,” said Deputy Director Mike Ryall from Memphis Police.  

Tennessee Highway Patrol and Memphis Police say they are studying the data and found most of these shootings are happening between the hours of noon 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.  

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