MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There will be an added presence of four more troopers after an increase in violence on area roadways, said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland on Monday.

Mayor Strickland said right now there are 12 troopers patrolling the Shelby County area, but soon there will be another graduating class with four more troopers headed here, bringing the total to 16 troopers by early summer 2022.

This comes as city and county leaders have pushed for the added resources to help combat interstate shootings, road rage and speeding.

The mayor says this is something his office has been pushing for the last four or five years and believes a full-time visible presence will make a difference.  

“For all the Tennessee Highway Patrol officers out on the interstates, that’s more police officers patrolling our streets,” he said.

Memphis Police say so far this year there have been 105 interstate shootings compared to 83 total last year. 

Mayor Strickland recognized the high numbers Monday, saying, “When we have a heavy presence of police officers and or Sheriff’s officers and/or Tennessee Highway Patrol officers it plummets. But when the operation ceases because of short staffing, they increase again. So this is a permanent presence that will help.”

He also said there have been too many interstate crashes and the added presence should help lower those numbers.

“Governor Lee heard us and really made it a priority in his last couple budgets and we went up last week actually, the team and talked to the commissioner of safety and the colonel who is head of highway patrol and they’ve listened. And they’ve looked at the data and really followed the data on accidents and interstate shootings,” he said.

The governor’s spokesperson told us Monday he recently convened the statewide Law Enforcement Training Advisory Council to address issues like recruitment, training and officer retention. You can learn more information about the council here.