THP unveils new operation to curb interstate violence

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Highway Patrol announced a new operation that aims to drastically drop the amount of gun violence on Memphis’ interstates and highways: Operation Grizzly Bear 2019.

There have been more than 30 shootings on those roads this year, with the latest happening less than a week ago. That shooting occurred as a driver merged onto I-240 from Perkins Road Friday night. No one was injured.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says enough is enough.

“We’re fed up with citizens not feeling safe,” Strickland said. “This is an all hands on deck situation.”

Memphis police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and THP are stepping up enforcement on those busy roadways.

Operation Grizzly Bear 2019 is a six-week operation that will target crime, aggressive drivers and violence on Memphis interstates. After that time, they will evaluate its effectiveness.

Strickland has asked all police departments to step up patrols on the interstates and highways to curb the trend.

"We need to do more and we have continued to do more every year under our budget constraints, so we will continue more in that regard and we will continue to patrol the interstates more," Strickland said.

THP said they will strategically place deputies in targeted areas along I-240 and Highway 385 starting a noon and through the early morning hours. Deputies will be in marked and unmarked vehicles.

Thirty extra troopers have been brought in to patrol the interstates.

U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant is now looking into federal laws involving interstate commerce that could step in to enforce federal laws, which have a heavier punishment on these crimes.

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