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1929 saw the creation of the Arkansas State Road Patrol also known as the State Highway Police. Fiscal restraints and reorganization in 1933 saw the force abolished and mandate transferred to the Arkansas State Revenue Department.

On March 19th,1935 the Arkansas State Police was born primarily as a result of fighting the proliferation of the moonshine industry with 13 new officers. The first men to be empowered in Arkansas with statewide law enforcement duties and responsibilities were known as Rangers.

In 1937, the Arkansas State Police head count rose from 13 to 50 men and a headquarters was established in Little Rock. By 1948, the number of officers rose to 99 and it was the year they became known as Troopers.

1970 was the year Troop letter designations were used for the first time which replaced the numerical designations, and it was reflected on the license plates of the day and ever since.




License Plates of the Arkansas State Police

The earliest license plate issuance information for the ASP dates back to the late 1930's. An embossed steel (Approx.6.0"x 13.5") plate with four long mounting slots was used. The colors were black over yellow-orange and the embossed border was painted black.

The words STATE over POLICE were in the center of the plate in large thick dies over the embossed state name along the bottom of the plate. An embossed solid black 6-point star was to the left of the plate, and on the right side was the assignment number in small "motorcycle dies".

This type of plate was used until the 1956 mandatory 6"x 12" format law came into effect, and although the dimension of the ASP plates became smaller, the format and coloring remained pretty much the same as the older version.

What makes ASP plates identifiable by age in these early years was the shade of yellow, the type of metal used, and the mounting hole configuration. Most people mistakenly see a "black on yellow" ASP plate and think they are all the same, but they are not.


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  • Arkansas license plate image1937-1956 issue. Embossed Steel.
    Approx. 6"x 13.5"
    Black over Yellow-Orange
    Four long mounting slots

    -First Issue-
  • Arkansas license plate image
  • Arkansas police officer and car image
  • Arkansas police car image
  • Arkansas police officer and care imageLate 1948- Snake Griffin & Jimmy Stobaugh
  • Arkansas police officer and care image1950 Ford
  • Arkansas police officer and care image1954 Ford
  • Arkansas police car image

The 1956 or "second issue" plate also had an orange-like shade to the paint, and was also identifiable by having four standard round mounting holes, but also two additional short slots at the upper left and right side of the plate.
There were 7 Districts with a Lieutenant in charge of each District and these district numbers were reflected on the license plate numbers.

For the 1956 era license plates: District 1 (Little Rock); District 2 (Newport); District 3 (Clarksville); District 4 (Hope); District 5 (Warren); District 6 (Forrest City); District 7 (Harrison).

In 1958 an 8th District was added at Fort Smith with the previous 7 remaining the same.

In 1959 there was a reorganization with 4 Districts with a Lieutenant as the Commander and a Lieutenant as the Assistant Commander District 1 (Little Rock); District 2 (Newport); District 3 (Fort Smith); District 4 (Warren).
The lowest numbers following the District Number was typically by rank seniority of the District. District Commanders were "00", Assistant District Commanders were "01" and so on.(See plate #115 on this page)

  • Arkansas license plate image1956-Mid 1960`s issue. Embossed steel. 6" x 12".
    Black over Yellow-Orange. Four circular mounting holes with two oval mounting slots on top.
    Three digit number with first number being District.
    115 being District 1 (Little Rock) Car 15
  • Arkansas license plate image1967 Plymouth Fury

The next issue came out in the early to mid-1960's and although it was identical in format to the "second issue" plate, this version had a lighter shade of yellow and was reflective which improved officer safety from a "night visibility" standpoint. When a vehicle with its headlights on approached the officer's vehicle from the rear, the patrol car could be seen from a greater distance. Reflective sheeting has been used on ASP license plates ever since.

In 1965 there were 7 Districts some commanded by a Captain and some by a Lieutenant:
District 1 (Little Rock); District 2 (Newport); District 3 (Forrest City); District 4 (Warren); District 5 (Hope) District 6 (Fort Smith); District 7 (Clarksville).

In 1968- an 8th District was added at Jonesboro with the previous 7 remaining the same.(See plate # 800 on this page)

  • Arkansas police car imageMid 1960`s-1968 issue-Embossed steel.
    Black over Reflective Lemon Yellow.
    Four circular mounting holes with two oval mounting slots on top. Three digit number with first number being District. 800 being District 8 (Jonesboro) Car 00 (District Commander)
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That same year, the state of Arkansas switched to aluminum license plates. A similarly-formatted plate as the previous issues was still used by ASP patrol vehicles, but made of the newer and lighter material as well as having the unusual configuration of three long mounting slots in the top left and bottom corners and one mounting hole in the top right.(See plate # 166 on this page)

  • Arkansas license plate image1968-1970 issue- Embossed Aluminum
    (first aluminum issue for the state).
    Black over reflective lemon-yellow.
    Three long mounting slots and one circular mounting hole in top right. Three digit number with first number being District. 166 being District 1 (Little Rock) Car 66
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  • Arkansas license plate imageLate 1960`s issue- Embossed steel.
    Black over reflective lemon-yellow.
    Four circular mounting holes but with SMALL Six-Point Star.
    Three digit number with first number being District.
    313 being District 3 (Helena) Car 13
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On July 1, 1970, the ASP changed its Patrol Districts from number designations to letter designations.

A (Little Rock), B (Newport), C (Jonesboro), D (Forrest City), E (Dumas) (Now Pine Bluff), F (Warren), G (Hope), H (Fort Smith), I (Harrison), J (Clarksville), K (Hot Springs).

1976: the 11th District added at Hot Springs with the previous 10 Districts. Also in 1976: "Districts" became "Troops".
1977: a 12th Troop (Troop L) was added at Springdale with the previous 11 Troops.

License plates of the day were embossed aluminum with black on reflective lemon yellow sheeting in the same format as had been used since the 1930's, but with four round mounting holes and the District (later: Troop) Letter above the number.
General Headquarters plates were all numerical.(See plate # G 7 on this page)

  • Arkansas license plate image1970-1976 issue-Embossed aluminum.
    Black over reflective lemon-yellow.
    Four circular mounting holes.
    Troop G (Hope) Car 7
  • Arkansas police car image

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Around 1976, the black over yellow color combination that had been used on ASP license plates for over four decades was abandoned for a blue over reflective white version.
These plates were the identical format as the 1970 version.(See plate # H 32 on this page)


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  • Arkansas license plate image1976-Early 1990`s issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Blue over reflective white.
    Troop H (Fort Smith) Car 32
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Arkansas police car imageTroop D (Forrest City) Car 15. Assigned To Trooper David Dixon.

Arkansas police car image

Arkansas police car imageTroop D (Forrest City) Car 15. Assigned To Trooper David Dixon.

Arkansas State Police Commission .
The civilian staffed State Police Commission is comprised of seven members appointed by the governor. The term lasts seven years with each member taking a turn at being Secretary, Vice chairman, Chairman etc..
It is believed that the Chairman was issued number 701, the Vice Chairman 702 and so-on to 707.
These license plates could be run on the personal vehicle of the Commission Member.
It is not known if this commission is still issued with these special license plates.

  • Arkansas license plate imageOlder circa 1960's-early 1970's issue. Embossed steel
    Medium blue over yellow-orange.
    State Police Commission number 702 would have likely been issued to the Vice Chairman.
    Manufacture appears to be from Mississippi as mounting holes, border and numeral dies match those used by the Magnolia State during this time.
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  • Arkansas license plate image1976-Early 1990`s issue- Embossed aluminum.
    Blue over reflective white.
    Member number 4 of seven person commission.
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Although no exact year can be pinned-down yet, it was approximately 1990/91 when a new graphic license plate was introduced to the ASP fleet. This plate was a reflective white aluminum plate with embossed dark blue numbers and a painted embossed border. The state name was silk screened in dark blue upper case letters between the upper bolt-holes. Below and to the left was a screened graphic of the ASP emblem with the center design inside the blue star done in red. To the right of the ASP emblem was the embossed Troop Letter and number, or in the case of a Headquarters plate, a number only. The bottom legend of the plate had the words STATE POLICE silk-screened in dark blue between the lower boltholes. No visible holograms can be seen in the sheeting. These plates are known as the "Red Center" plates due to inside color of ASP emblem.

  • Arkansas license plate imageEarly 1990`s-Mid 1990`s issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Known as "Red Center" issue based on color inside ASP emblem.
    Troop B (Newport) Car 11
  • Arkansas police car imageTroop D (Forrest City) Car 11
  • Arkansas license plate imageEarly 1990`s-Mid 1990`s- Issued to Chaplain of Arkansas State Police

    (Courtesy of Brian Drake)
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In 1998, the "Red Center" plates were replaced with a "Gold Center" plate. Aside from the change in the color of the center of the ASP emblem, the only other differences were that the state name along the top became more "stylized" and the corners of the embossed border were sharper. State shaped holograms with "98" running vertically down the center of the sheeting can be seen.

  • Arkansas license plate imageMid 1990`s-2002 issue- Embossed aluminum.
    Known as "Gold center" issue based on color inside ASP emblem.
    Troop B (Newport) Car 11
  • Arkansas police car imageTroop F (Warren) Car 29
  • Arkansas police car imageB11 On Duty!
    (Courtesy David Dixon)
  • Arkansas police car imageMarked ASP Camaro

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Slick-top Camaro on Traffic Stop bearing regular passenger license plate and no rear deck markings or lightbar. You don't know you're caught until you see the side of the Z28 as you're passing him..."Hiding in Plain Sight"


  • Arkansas license plate image2002-Current issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Blue over reflective white. Newer "red center" plate. Headquarters plate number 122.
    Uses the graphics and dies of the mid-1990's version, but the color scheme of the early 1990's issue.
  • Arkansas police car imageTroop H (Fort Smith) Car 5

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From January 1 until December 31 of 2010, the Arkansas State Police ran special graphic 75th Anniversary license plates on their marked patrol vehicles. The design was similar to the 2002 issue but with a screened legend to the right of the assignment number with "75 Years of Service 1935-2010" inscribed. The plates were funded by the Arkansas State Police Association and became property of the assigned Trooper on January 1 2011. After that date, the Arkansas State Police resumed usage of the previous 2002 issue on all marked ASP vehicles.

  • Arkansas license plate image2010-2011 issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Blue over reflective white.
    Diamond Anniversary issue.
    Troop K (Hot Springs) Car 1 (Troop Commander)
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  • Arkansas license plate image2010-2011 issue for Diamond Anniversary.
    Headquarters Car 101-Colonel of ASP.

  • Arkansas police car image2010-2011 issue for Diamond Anniversary.
    Numbers issued in the 9000 series for Criminal Investigation Division personnel.

    (Courtesy Todd Quick)
  • Arkansas license plate imageTroop A (Little Rock) Car 72
  • Arkansas police car imageTroop G (Hope) Car 4





Motorcycle License Plates used by Arkansas State Police

Very little information is known about ASP motorcycle license plates, and we're hoping for some good historical input from anyone "in the know". Inspectors from the Arkansas State Revenue Department had approximately 10 motorcycles in their fleet in the mid 1930's, however it is likely that they may have just used standard Arkansas m/c license plates on their "rides".

The first confirmed ASP motorcycle license plate issuance is around 1964 when a "small version" of the ASP car plate was issued for the handful of ASP motorcycles on patrol. The plate measured 6" x 4" and was made of embossed aluminum. The plate was painted black over a reflective yellow background. The word STATE was embossed along the top legend above an embossed assignment number beginning with the letter M (Motorcycle) flanked by a solid black embossed six-point star on either side of the assignment number. The word POLICE was centered along the bottom legend of the plate. It is believed that the ASP motorcycle patrol was disbanded sometime in the early 1970's.
Thirty years later, the "motor unit" program was re-instituted, however only plain Arkansas m/c license plates are run on the ASP bikes from what I've been told.

  • Arkansas license plate imageCirca 1970 Arkansas State Police motorcycle licence plate. Black on reflective lemon yellow.
  • Arkansas police motorcycle image





Front Booster Plates of the Arkansas State Police

  • Arkansas license plate imageFlat-Screened Aluminum ASPA Member booster
  • Arkansas license plate imageEmbossed Aluminum ASPA Supporter booster
  • Arkansas license plate imageEmbossed Aluminum ASPA Supporter booster
  • Arkansas license plate imageEmbossed Aluminum ASPA Supporter booster





Arkansas Highway Police

Arkansas Police patch

Although many folks don't realize it, the Arkansas Highway Police have been around LONGER than the Arkansas State Police. In the 1929 regular session, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 299, which was later entitled the State Road Patrol Act. The result of the act was the assignment of administrative oversight of the Arkansas Road Patrol to the Arkansas Highway Department. The men appointed to fill the twenty allocated positions for the patrol became the first enforcement officers in Arkansas to be officially commissioned by state law. Through the years following the creation of the Patrol, the unit was transferred between various agencies of State Government, but it always maintained its identity, purpose, and dedication to serving the people of Arkansas. For a time, the agency was a part of the Arkansas Revenue Department, creating a working relationship that transcended all subsequent relocations of the enforcement group. Today, all Highway Police Officers carry a commission as an Agent of the Commissioner of Revenues.

In 1963, the enforcement effort that began as the State Road Patrol, once again became a part of the Arkansas Highway Department. In 1979, the Division's name was changed to the Arkansas Highway Police. In 1989, the powers and duties of the Transportation Safety Agency were transferred to the Highway Police and officers began to include enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Today, the Arkansas Highway Police is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of drug interdiction, motor carrier safety and hazardous materials enforcement, and training. Highway Police officers serve as instructors for the Criminal Justice Institute, National Training Center, Transportation Safety Institute, and the Drug Interdiction Assistance Program.

License plate issuance on AHP vehicles is more of an educated guess so far as opposed to definite time frames, as very little confirmed information exists for their license plate issuance history.

  • Arkansas license plate imagePre-1963 issue-Screened heavy gauge aluminum.
    Black over reflective yellow-orange. Weights and Standards. Three digit number with first number indicating district.
    District 2 (Pine Bluff) Car 77
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  • Arkansas license plate imagePost-1963 issue. Lighter gauge aluminum.
    Black over a more orange shade of yellow compared to previous issue.
    Also has corner mounting holes.
    Three digit number with first number indicating district.
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  • Arkansas license plate image1970's-1980's issue. Screened medium gauge aluminum. Black over reflective orange. Three digit number with first number indicating district.
    District 3 (Hope) Car 76
  • Arkansas police car imageArkansas Highway Police station wagon early1980`s

In 1953, Weigh Inspectors of the Weight Division Unit of the Arkansas State Revenue Department were absorbed into the newly formed Weights and Standards Division of the Arkansas State Police and given full police powers. 1963 saw the Weights and Standards Division was transferred to the State Highway Commission.

1979 was the year when the Weights and Standards Division was renamed to the current Arkansas Highway Police Division of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. The officers of the ARHP still have full police powers and are sometimes known as the "Truck Troopers" but can enforce other motor vehicle laws and cite moving violations as well.

  • Arkansas license plate image1980's issue. Screened medium gauge aluminum.
    Brown over reflective white with full-color emblem. Three digit number with first number indicating district.
    District 5 (Batesville) Car 74
  • Arkansas police car imageCirca 1989 AHP Chevrolet Caprice
  • Arkansas license plate image1990's issue. Screened medium gauge aluminum.
    Brown over reflective white with full-color emblem
    (Open Star). Three digit number with first number indicating district.
    District 5 (Batesville) Car 99
  • Arkansas police car imageOn Duty and still smiling!
  • Arkansas license plate image2000's issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Black and white with embossed blue numerals.
    Three digit number indicating district.
    District 5 (Batesville) Car 80
  • Arkansas police car image


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