City Cops on I-555: Can They Pull You Over?

JANUARY 17, 2007 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CST

TYRONZA, AR -- Can officers from towns along U.S. Highway 63 legally patrol what will become Interstate 555?

According to the state highway department, for the past couple months, U.S. 63 inside the Tyronza city limits has been upgraded to a limited access road, much like an interstate.

Tyronza Police have been out patrolling the stretch of highway that runs through their city. The only problem is that since this interchange has been completed, they may not legally be able to patrol the area.

"Through Tyronza, there are no at grade crossings which would mean it is limited access highway," says Joe Barnett, the District Engineer for the Arkansas State Highway Department.

There are now only interchanges through Tyronza, which according to the highway department qualifies that stretch of road inside their city limits as a limited access highway.

And according to state law, they have to be given permission from the Arkansas State Police in writing to patrol a limited access highway. According to State Police Spokesman Bill Sadler, the state police have no record giving the city permission. So, is it legal? Guess it depends on who you ask.

"What we consider to be a limited access highway and what a judge would consider to be a limited access highway might be two different things," says Barnett.

K8 News talked to Tyronza Mayor Marion Bearden who said the city hasn't been contacted by any state agency saying they cannot patrol the upgraded stretch of highway. She said for safety reasons, they'll patrol it until someone tells them they can't.