County leaders consider security upgrades - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

County leaders consider security upgrades to Hernando DeSoto Park

(WMC-TV) - Hernando DeSoto Park is an outdoorsman's paradise. Fence posts and a new park entrance sign are riddled with bullet holes. County leaders want to upgrade security before an innocent person is shot.

Hunters park their vehicles at the Hernando DeSoto Park before heading to private land, and fishermen load boats into the river. But lately, it has been a haven for people shooting illegally. Shot out signs, shell casings, and even homemade targets are everywhere.

Some locals claim the shooting has been going on for years, especially when teenagers are out of school during the weekends. 

"I wouldn't want my kids to be down here around it, because usually when they're doing it they've had a few beers," said park visitor, Wayne Melton.

County leaders will consider a new proposal that would close park gates after dark except for users that have registered with the sheriff's office to get a free identification number. Leaders will also consider adding light posts to the area. 

"When the sheriff's department comes out there and sees that number on your dash then they'll understand that you're there to fish or hunt," said DeSoto County District 5 Supervisor Harvey Lee. 

Melton wonders if the new proposal is enough to stop the shooting.

"They going to have to put a guard down here to stop it, it's the only way they'll ever do it."

County leaders would have to vote on the changes.

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