A team involving two state government agencies and three national wireless communications companies has placed a new tool in the hands of Arkansas citizens and millions of out-of-state visitors to use for contacting the Arkansas State Police as they travel across Arkansas’ 16,000 miles of U.S. and state highways.
Using a four-digit speed dial feature, *ASP (*277) is now available on any AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon cellular phone operating in Arkansas. Callers will be connected to an Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division troop headquarters nearest the caller’s location. Twelve troop headquarters, each equipped and staffed with its own telecommunications dispatch center, are scattered across the state. [A map illustrating the locations, counties each troop patrols, and contact information can be found at [https://www.dps.arkansas.gov/law-enforcement/arkansas-state-police/divisions/highway-patrol/]
“The Department of Public Safety is proud of the collaboration between state agencies and private wireless carriers to provide motorists a simple one-touch connection with the Arkansas State Police, regardless of their location when the call is made,” said Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety.
Wireless calls sent to *ASP should be limited to non-emergency inquiries or reports. The nationwide standard 9-1-1 remains the primary telephone number to use when law enforcement or emergency services are needed. Calls routed through the 9-1-1 network are always answered first and take priority over the *ASP calls.
“The types of calls we anticipate receiving include those from stranded or lost motorists,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “Additionally, we encourage callers to use the *ASP speed dial for reporting suspicious activity they may notice on the highway or safety concerns related to dangerous driving of others.”
The Arkansas Department of Transportation has taken on the responsibility of making information about *ASP available to motorists where it’s most needed – Arkansas highways. ARDOT is producing more than 200 large blue reflective metal signs that display the *ASP wireless phone instructions. The signs are being erected at all interstate highway entry points for vehicle traffic entering the state, at all interstate interchanges within the state and posted alongside several of the more heavily traveled U.S. and Arkansas highways inside the state’s borders.
“This project has proven to be a collaborative effort by many, all working together, to help make traveling Arkansas a safer experience and better serve the citizens and our visitors,” said Lorie Tudor, Director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
The Division of Arkansas Tourism estimated during 2019 more than 36 million people traveled on Arkansas highways as a means for leisure or business transportation.
Cellular phone customers who are provided wireless services by companies other than AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon should check with their provider to determine whether the *ASP speed dial service is available on their network. *ASP is not designed to function from a landline telephone.