In light of the recent deadly mass shootings in the country, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) has upped its presence at shopping centers, malls, and Walmart stores here.
Over the weekend, the department implemented this directed patrol to maintain high visibility of law enforcement officers and to assure the safety of shoppers in these areas, MPD director Michael Rallings said.
"We know that with all these recent shootings, a lot of folks are on edge," Rallings said. "We are reassuring the community that we are taking proactive steps to keep you safe."
However, Rallings said the department is currently hindered by the 1978 Kendrick Consent Decree that prohibits political surveillance. A federal judge ruled the department had violated that decree last year and appointed a team to monitor MPD's compliance to the decree.
"Law enforcement needs to know what's going on," Rallings said, citing a manifesto posted online by the El Paso gunman shortly before the shooting. "As we continue to work with the courts and work with our monitor, we'll come up with some solutions, some methods, some measures to do what law enforcement does all over the nation to keep people safe."
Rallings said the department has done "a number" of active shooter trainings and plans to increase those in the future.
"This is something that we do all the time," Rallings said. "But obviously with these situations coming up more and more, we'll do more of that."
There have been 255 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).
The latest mass shootings took place last weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, resulting in 31 total deaths.
The GVA is a not-for-profit corporation that collects data for law enforcement, media, government, and commercial sources in an effort to provide real-time data on gun violence. The GVA is one of a handful of organizations that track mass shootings and publish the data.
The GVA defines mass shootings as a shooting in which four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed in a single location.
Based on that definition, there have been three mass shootings in Memphis this year, according to the GVA. One person was killed as a result, and 13 people were injured.
None of the shootings here were considered active-shooter incidents, which the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) defines as a situation in which "an individual is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area."
Since 2015, three active-shooter incidents have occurred in Tennessee, according to the FBI. In 2016, one person was killed and three were wounded after a gunman opened fire at a Days Inn in Bristol.
In 2017, a man shot and killed one person and wounded seven after opening fire in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch.
In 2018, a gunman opened fire in a Nashville Waffle House, killing four people and wounding four others.