Aerial enforcement along Highway 29 in Chippewa County Thursday

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY. Wis. (WEAU) -- To enhance safety for all travelers, the Wisconsin State Patrol plans to use aircraft and ground-based officers on Thursday along WIS 29 in Chippewa County. If weather conditions are unfavorable for flying, enforcement typically proceeds using ground-based units.

“We announce many of our enforcement efforts in advance to reinforce that our goal is voluntary compliance with traffic laws,” said Captain Nick Wanink, Commander of the State Patrol’s Northwest Region. “Officers will be watching for speeding, tailgating or other dangerous driving behaviors that risk the safety of everyone along our roadways.”

In 2018 in Wisconsin, there were nearly 20,000 speed-related crashes resulting in 7,957 injuries and 173 fatalities – more than the number of people injured and killed in alcohol-related crashes.

Most State Patrol aerial missions are made possible through federal funds specifically designated to support traffic law enforcement. The State Patrol analyzes data on traffic crashes and citations to identify highway corridors for enforcement efforts.

State Patrol aircraft use a timing device; Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder along with highway markings to determine vehicle speeds. When pilots detect speeders, aggressive or reckless drivers, they contact ground-based units to initiate a traffic stop.

A WisDOT YouTube video highlights the role of the State Patrol’s Air Support Unit.