TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Three national cellphone companies are working with the Arkansas State Police to provide a new tool for Arkansas motorists.
Effective immediately, a four-digit speed dial feature, *ASP (*277) is now available on any AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon phone operating in Arkansas. Callers will be connected to an Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division troop headquarters nearest the caller's location.
"It's active now. Southwest Arkansas residents should be seeing signs up for it. It's a good tool for motorists to have," said Capt. Brady Gore, commander of ASP Troop G. Troop G includes Miller, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Sevier and Little River counties.
Gore said the *ASP number is not intended for emergencies -- those will still go through 911 -- but for issues on the highways that still require attention.
"Often times there are issues that motorists should call in such as a reckless driver or debris in the road," Gore said. It could also include a motorists having vehicle problems.
The call will go to the 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.
"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 Arkansas Department of Transportation has taken on the responsibility of making information about *ASP available to motorists on the 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.
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.
Cellphone 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.