MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police shut down the Loyalty Inn near the airport Wednesday morning, deeming it a public nuisance, though it was later allowed to stay open with increased security.
Undercover officers and code enforcement officials were all over the property, formerly known as America's Best Value Inn.
"They come harassing us, saying this is a known drug area, you need to leave your motel room," one motel guest said Wednesday.
Police have responded to more than 500 calls for service at the motel in the past three years, Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich said Thursday. Memphis Police's Organized Crime Unit says those calls have included three homicides, two rapes, 40 assaults, 16 drug violations, six robberies and 37 arrests.
A temporary injunction and restraining order issued Wednesday gives police authority to conduct knock-and-talk visits with hotel guests, gives police access to real-time surveillance of the premises, requires two security guards during certain hours, and requires weekly monitoring appearances for the next month in General Sessions Div. 14/Environmental Court.
Nuisance properties are homes and businesses where illegal activities like drug dealing and prostitution constantly go on or are permitted.
Kevin Kelley manages a business next to the Loyalty Inn. Many of his employees carry a gun for protection.
"It's constant problems over there," he says, "There's been three murders in less than a year over there. At least twice a week there's five to six squad cars come flying in here."
WREG covered a deadly shooting at the motel back in April.
"And the bad part about it is there's little kids living over there. I see them going to school and stuff and you got drugs and stuff going on over here. It's just ridiculous," Kelley says.
Those kids are part of families living at the motel that need to find another place to live.
We called the motel for comment but the employee who answered didn't say much and eventually hung up.
The DA's office says some businesses are allowed to reopen if changes are made that fix the problems, but other businesses end up staying closed for good.
The first court setting for monitoring is at 10:30 a.m. Monday before Judge Patrick Dandridge.