MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police say they are investigating 31 interstate shootings so far this year, even more than this time last year. We wanted to know what’s being done to keep drivers safe while they’re behind the wheel.
Police Director Michael Rallings says MPD is cracking down on racing and roadway safety, but says MPD needs help from the State of Tennessee if they’re going to stop interstate shootings. Between street racing, drag racing, reckless driving and interstate shootings, Memphis Police has its hands full.
“We’re coming after you. We’re not going to tolerate it. We’re not going to let you wreak havoc on our streets and citizens,” Rallings said.
Law enforcement says they’ve made a point to pull some officers from neighborhoods in order to improve traffic safety, and there have been arrests as a result.
They’ve also worked to seize cars that are being used in street and drag races, hoping to prevent offenders from repeating the same crimes.
“Tennessee law does allow us to seize that vehicle, and that involves us actually depriving the owner of that vehicle,” said Deputy Chief Michael Hardy, of the Memphis Police Department. “It’s a long, drawn out process.”
But driver safety has become, at times, overwhelming, especially on the interstate. MPD is looking for more help from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
“The interstates belong to the state. The state needs to do more to conduct safety operations inside the City of Memphis,” Rallings said.
MPD says it will continue to assign officers to the interstates, but Director Rallings urged public officials to put pressure on the state to provide improved support.
“That pressure needs to continue. The governor needs to order Tennessee Highway Patrol to hire whoever they need,” Rallings said.
Director Rallings is clearly frustrated with a perceived lack of support when it comes to interstate shootings. He also said the best way for drivers to stay safe is use caution, and report a license plate number for any vehicle that is driving unsafely.