Memphis City Council asks state for more troopers to patrol interstates

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Violent crime is increasing on Memphis highways.

According to the Memphis Police Department, there have been 50 interstate shootings so far this year.

Memphis City Council wants the state to send more troopers to patrol our interstates so MPD officers can focus on patrolling neighborhoods. But that’s easier said than done.

Ben Stewart told FOX13 he uses Interstate 240 on a regular basis.

He said he’s heard about the interstate shootings, but he was shocked to find out there have been 50 interstate shootings since January 1.

“It’s terrible, just horrible for someone to even, to you know, even think of shooting someone while they are innocently driving to work, home or the grocery store that’s terrifying actually,” Stewart said.

That’s why Memphis City Council members want more support from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Tuesday, council approved a resolution asking the state for more troopers to patrol the interstates so MPD can put officers in other areas.

But similar to MPD, Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen said the state doesn’t have enough troopers to patrol all the interstates full time.

“One quick way to help boost the presence of police officers in neighborhoods is to get them off the interstate and put Tennessee Highway Patrol on there,” McGowan said. “I don’t want to say they’re not responsive, they are, but they can only come for short periods of time right now for focused patrols.”

Stewart said he’s not surprised there’s a shortage of State Troopers but he believes this kind of shift in resources would benefit the community.

“I think that’s a great idea so that there’s more attention into the communities you know around vs all the officers just spending their time on the interstate when there is stuff that needs to be attended to in the neighborhoods,” Stewart said.

You may have seen speed cameras on some city streets, but it’s not possible to put them on the interstate.

McGowen told FOX13 putting speed cameras on the interstate is prohibited under state statute.

MPD told FOX13 they’ve made six arrests in the 50 interstate shooting cases so far.