Major Jay Thompson of the Arkansas Highway Police (AHP) has been promoted to chief of the state agency, a division of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT). On Friday (April 20), ArDOT announced the promotion, and he replaces former chief Ronnie Burks who retired earlier this year.
In 1988, Thompson started his career with ArDOT as a telecommunications operator. He left two years later and was rehired in 1992 as a patrolman for the highway police. While working in Pine Bluff, he was promoted to patrol officer first class and corporal. He transferred to a patrol unit in Benton and was promoted to inspector. He was assigned to work at the highway police’s Central Office and carried out multiple administrative duties such as working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. He was promoted to captain over the permit section and managed its daily operations. Before he was named chief, he was major at the highway police’s Division and the Oversize/Overweight Permit Section.
The highway police protects the state’s highway infrastructure by enforcing state size and weight laws for commercial vehicles and monitoring the vehicles for speeding and other traffic violations, according to a news release.
“We are extremely pleased to announce Major Thompson as our new chief of the Arkansas Highway Police,” ArDOT Director Scott Bennett said. “Major Thompson has done an outstanding job in his years at the AHP and is respected by his peers, both here at the department and throughout the law enforcement community. I am confident in the leadership he will provide to all of the officers in our Division.”
Thompson is a board member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and was its president in 2016. He received the CVSA John Youngblood Award of Excellence in 2003, and in 2016, he received the Professionalism, Harmonization, Partnership and Leader Award from the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association. He’s also vice chair of the nonprofit AHP Charity Fund.
Thompson earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Pikes Peak Community College in Golden, Colo.