January 26, 2007--Posted at 5:50 p.m. CST
TYRONZA, AR--A Region 8 police department is told that it does not have permission to patrol a heavily traveled roadway. According to state law, a police department located along a limited access highway has to be given permission from the state police in writing to patrol that stretch of road.
A few months ago interchanges were completed around Tyronza making Highway 63 a limited access highway, but yet the city's police still patrolled the area. It's a familiar site along Highway 63 to see the speed limit monitored however not like this.
"Captain Whitaker of the Arkansas State Police has advised me as of the 17th of this month that he advised the mayor and police chief of Tyronza that they weren't given permission by the state police to monitor that limited access highway," said 2nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis.
According to Davis, it's a somewhat unfamiliar rule because of the lack of limited access highways in the area and the lack of legislation on the issue.
"There is no provision for what should happen in the event they do that without permission or authority," said Davis.
Tyronza Mayor Marion Bearden said they are no longer patrolling that stretch of highway. She added that the city hasn't decided yet if they will seek written permission to resume patrolling from the Arkansas State Police.
While the Tyronza Police Department no longer has the jurisdiction to issue tickets along Highway 63, if you received one in the past it doesn't mean you are off the hook.
"It doesn't necessarily hold true that because the officer was there without the proper authority that the ticket will be dismissed. You still have to appear in court and make that pitch to the judge," said Davis.
The good news for Tyronza is this will free up their police officers, the bad news is it could affect their economic future.
"For those cities who may have been generating a large portion of their income from patrolling highways, this obviously could have an impact on them," said Davis.
According to Mayor Bearden, patrolling this stretch of highway has never been about making the town money it's been about safety.
While the Tyronza Police Department will no longer patrol, the Arkansas State Police will continue to monitor the speed on Highway 63.