Officers with the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office already patrolling Memphis’ interstate system will be assisted by additional Tennessee Highway Patrol officers in an attempt to squelch the uptick in highway shootings in Shelby County.
The latest phase of Operation Grizzly Bear will provide 30 additional troopers that will patrol in the interstate system in Shelby County.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Captain Jimmy Johnson said this phase of the operation will last six weeks, at which time the presence of additional troopers will be evaluated for its effectiveness.
The Memphis Police Department has confirmed 32 interstate shootings have occurred in 2019. Most of the cases, police say, are instances of road rage.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland thanked state officials for designating resources for the operation, described by Strickland as an “all hands on deck” approach.
The mayor also said Memphis officials will be back in Nashville next legislative session to push for harsher penalties for perpetrators of road rage shootings.
“If the victim of one of these shootings is not physically hit with a bullet… it’s an aggravated assault and the punishment is presumed to be probation,” the mayor told The Commercial Appeal on Monday.