Mayor Strickland wants more THP patrols in hopes of lowering interstate shootings

Memphis mayor calling for more state troopers to limit interstate shootings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a call for the permanent presence of more Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) troopers in Shelby County from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

There have been 39 interstate shootings in 2021. According to Memphis police, that’s nearly half the total number of interstate shootings from 2020.

Below are MPD year to date interstate shootings numbers.

  • 2018- 23
  • 2019- 45
  • 2020- 83
  • 2021- 39

Strickland says he’d like help from THP to curb those crimes.

“I think if we can get a permanent presence on the I-40/I-240 loop, you’re going to see those interstate shootings go down,” Strickland said.

Strickland says surrounding counties have THP presence and Shelby County deserves the same.

“I have spoken to the governor multiple times, legislative leaders multiple times, the Tennessee Highway Patrol. We want a permanent presence of the highway patrol in Shelby County,” Strickland said.

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In a statement, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said, “Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr. and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office cooperates and works together with Tennessee Highway Patrol and other local police agencies. Any increase in officers’ performing traffic stops for speeding and reckless driving violations on the I40/240 loop in Shelby County will provide a deterrent effect. We have a long-standing relationship with THP and would welcome any assistance they are able to provide.”

Mayor Strickland’s office says in this year’s request for funding to the Tennessee General Assembly, Strickland included increased funding and personnel for THP and additional Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for personnel for officer involved shooting investigations.

“As you know we’re short of officers, but if we can get more help from Tennessee Highway Patrol, that’s fewer officers we have to put on the interstates and they can patrol our streets,” Strickland said.

Memphis police say the number of officers on interstate and highways varies depending on workload and personnel. WMC asked THP if they’ve had a permanent presence in Shelby County in the past but have not heard back.

We also asked Governor Bill Lee what needs to happen in order to make this possible but have not heard back.

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