Wisconsin State Patrol takes to skies for aerial enforcement - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin State Patrol takes to skies for aerial enforcement

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Wisconsin State Patrol is stepping up enforcement to keep roads in central Wisconsin safe by taking to the skies. Law enforcement keeps an eye on the highway thousands of feet up in the air.

Sgt. Steve Tape is getting ready to take off.

"We'll watch for fast cars," said Tape.

The sergeant flies over US-51 and I-39 to check for speeding and aggressive drivers.

"We'll time them through a vast car zone, and a vast car zone is just marks on the highway that are 660 feet apart, or .125 miles, and we'll check speeds through there," said Tape.

The sergeant presets the distance on the computer and times how long it takes drivers to go through the area. The computer gives him the rate of speed, so he can see drivers speeding before they pass officers on the ground.

"We're going to sit in the crossover and he's going to let us know who he gets going through that zone speeding and he's going to radio down to us," said Sgt. Carrie Johnson with Wisconsin State Patrol. “Most times people don't even know he's up there, so they're basically driving like they would normally drive."

While circling the area, Tape finds a speeding driver. Then, ground enforcement must wait for the car to pass an officer.

Once the car is pulled over, the sergeant begins the traffic stop. The sergeant says the driver thought she was keeping up with traffic, but she's still paying the price.

"It will be $250.90 for traveling 81 in a 65 speed zone," said Johnson.

Tape says his job isn't to give out citations, it's to keep the roads safe.

"We just want people to pay attention and think about what they're doing when they're on the road,” said Tape.

A job done on the road and in the air.

The sergeant says State Patrol has been doing aerial checks since the 1950's. He says more than 1,000 citations are given out each year from aerial checks.
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