In part one of our series “Wings, Waves, and Wheels” we told you that visibility is a key tool used by the Highway Patrol for deterring speed and reckless driving. Sometimes, though, the goal is enforcement, and that requires a bit of stealth.
That’s Sgt. Dustin Metzner, a pilot for the patrol, communicating to ground units during an aerial enforcement operation. The patrol has 9 pilots across the state, along with three helicopters and a number of aircraft at their disposal.
Aerial speed enforcement is generally done in areas where patrol units have identified patterns of high speeds and where the layout of the land makes it difficult for them to safely monitor from the roads. With the plane in the air, the ground units can wait in a safe location and track the offending driver with direction from above. All the while, the driver’s speed and other possible violations are notated by the pilot, from the moment their speed is checked to the time the ground unit releases them from the stop.
It’s not only safer for the troopers, but it also provides protection for other motorists by slowing traffic down. Sgt. Scott White says the planes and helicopters also improve safety by helping drivers avoid large crash scenes and other problem areas.
As we’ve already told you, though, this series is about more than just tickets. The aerial units employed by the Highway Patrol serve several other purposes, too….search and rescue, assisting in pursuits and searches for suspects, and assisting in other investigations. We’ll tell you more about that in part three of series, sponsored by Castle Defense 360 security consultants. See them online at www.castledefense360.com.