‘An expensive lesson’: State Patrol catches speeders as fast as 109 mph in aerial enforcement

EDGERTON, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Patrol began conducting aerial speed enforcement Tuesday afternoon in Rock and Waukesha Counties and has plans to continue in four additional counties for the remainder of the week.

In a four-hour span on HWY 59 in Edgerton, troopers made 40 traffic stops with the average speed of cars moving at 91 miles on a 70 mph highway. The highest speed clocked was 109 mph.

Pilots take advantage of the view from above coordinating with troopers on the ground to target small sections of the interstate highway.

“It is very easy to pick out the quickest vehicle in your field of view and also easy to see very aggressive driving, rapid lane changes following too close things like that,” Trooper Pilot Kurt Bauer said.

Utilizing basic physics, speed equals distance divided by time, pilots are able to spot violators behind the wheel and share the vehicles description with ground units on standby ready to make the stop.

Representatives from the Wisconsin State Patrol said they always hope for voluntary compliance when they announce their aerial mission and that their goal is keeping everyone safe.

“Unfortunately for those folks it’s an expensive lesson but one that we feel is important, ” Trooper Brian Zaemisch said.

Traffic enforcement details make up 30-40% of the State Patrol’s air support missions however operations also consist of search and locate, natural disaster response, and aerial surveillance.