MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A massive problem at the Memphis impound lot. They are over capacity, and those in charge say two things have made it worse.

“It’s a massive undertaking,” said Memphis Police Col. Doreen Shelton, who runs the place. “That’s 12 acres of vehicles out here.”

The impound lot located in Frayser holds cars for a number of reasons– the car was involved in a fatal crash and is waiting for the insurance companies or court systems to do their business, it was abandoned on the side of the road, or the vehicle was involved in a crime and considered evidence.

Shelton said they are over capacity.

“Way over capacity. We have roughly 2,238 I think was the count this morning. I know it was. We are about 15-hundred over,” she said.

That was in June, but the numbers remain steady. Shelton said it’s been that way since 2020 when the pandemic hit.

“Due to COVID, we couldn’t sell them. We couldn’t move them. The courts closed down for the most part and couldn’t adjudicate the vehicles like they needed to,” Shelton said.

Inventory drastically increased. So did reports of thefts and carjackings.

“An immense increase. So, yeah all of that has slowed everything down for us,” she said.

Shelton adding they are finding the space to fit the vehicles “little by little. Inch by Inch.”

Right now, Shelton told us they only have one working forklift, they’re short staffed and part of the lot is rotting due to all the weight from the extra cars. Sinkholes are popping up.

“We manage each day and put out the fires as they come,” she told us.

But the fire has become too big.

The city council asked MPD to speak about the impound lot and what they need to fix it. Shelton said it could cost $2-million to fix the drainage issues. They need two more forklifts and more staff. She said the chief has assigned recruits in the meantime to help.

“Much of it is beyond her capacity. It took a long time for it to get that way. The administration is working with us to look at alternative locations,” MPD Chief CJ Davis told the council.

Shelton added the forklifts were put in the budget, but the plan on what to do with the actual lot is still being worked out.