More than 3,200 stops made since launch of MPD’s ‘Operation Safe Travel’

Operation Safe Travel

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Police are patrolling the city’s highways in unprecedented numbers right now.

They're out in force as part of an effort dubbed Operation Safe Travel.

"Operation Safe Travel... This is a first. This is a first for the city,” said Deputy Chief Paul Wright, Memphis Police Department.

Operation Safe Travel is a massive response from Memphis Police after more than 30 interstate shootings since January.

"We want to make sure that the citizens feel safe and that we're out there doing our jobs to make them safe,” said Wright.

MPD is providing heavy saturation on Interstate 240 and Highway 385. Officers are busy busting lawbreakers.

"We've made over 3,293 stops,” said Wright.

The traffic stops happened between July 15 and July 22 with more than 2,000 citations issued.

The top offenses are speeding, not using a seat belt and driving without a valid license or insurance.

"We're not out there to get everybody. We're not out there just to give tickets. We're out there to stop the behavior of some of the individuals that are out there driving aggressively and committing these crimes that are putting people in danger,” said Wright.

At Tuesday's Rotary Club meeting, MPD Director Mike Rallings said state lawmakers' 2013 decision to allows guns in cars with no permit required had a devastating impact on Memphis.

“That was a bad idea. It's had unintended consequences, and it has increased violent crime,” said Rallings.

The crime on Bluff City highways is so bad that the Tennessee Highway Patrol sent 30 extra troopers to help MPD keep roads safe.

THP's Operation Grizzly Bear is now working in tandem with MPD's Operation Safe Travel.

"We're running this operation all day, 24 hours. You're gonna see a police officer out on the interstate all day long,” said Wright.

MPD made 80 arrests during the first week of Operation Safe Travel and the guns were recovered.

The cost for this extra enforcement on Memphis highways has been more than $34,000 so far.

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