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Task force now meeting to determine whether Beale Street Bucks continues to keep street safe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- WREG obtained video from Memphis police showing hundreds of people standing on Beale Street breaking out in a panic.

The crowd thought it heard a gunshot, but it was just someone knocking over a metal barricade. It happened May 2016.

A similar incident happened in 2015 as well, and in 2017, when dozens ran after they thought a firework was also a gunshot.

These stampedes are what the Beale Street Bucks Task Force is looking at as it determines whether a fee is needed to keep the street safe.

Right now, patrons pay $5 to get on the street on certain, busy Saturday nights.

Council Chairman Berlin Boyd is heading up the task force.

"If we can figure out ways to maintain the crowd, then there may not be a need for a fee," said Boyd.

The council voted to create a task force earlier this summer.

The group is made up of police, business owners, event planners and more.

They'll study video, stats and trends, and then hand over their findings to the council in September.

Mayor Strickland, who is a proponent of Beale Street Bucks, said he's looking forward to it.

"I'm open to the improvements the committee comes up with," he said.

Meanwhile, Boyd said they've already identified problems like people sneaking in alcohol and just partying on the street.

"We also talked about lighting and discussed ways young people are getting into the street. Access points. Where they're jumping the fence at Handy Park," he said.

Boyd said they will also research cities with streets similar to Beale Street.

The task force will continue the discussion Monday.