State Patrol monitors Labor Day traffic from air - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

State Patrol monitors Labor Day traffic from air


On one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, Sgt. Ryan Chaffee has an important job, aerial traffic enforcement.

"The purpose is to reduce the amount of crashes, injuries, fatalities we're having on the road here in Wisconsin," Chaffee said.

From the air, he can spot all sorts of traffic violations like speeding and aggressive driving.

Chaffee can tell how fast a car is going my measuring how quickly it passes through white dashes on the freeway spaced 1/8th of a mile apart.

"It takes you distance and divides it by time to calculate the speed," Chaffee said.

On Friday, he circled I-90 near West Salem.

"Once we identify a traffic violation we call down a description of that vehicle.  We maintain a visual on that vehicle until one of our ground cars can get behind the vehicle safely," he said.

Troopers on the ground wait on exit 12 for Chaffee's call.

"Really I haven't had much different reaction maybe because they know what they were doing and they got caught," Trooper Ryan Smith said.

There's even a sign up to warn drivers of the air enforcement zone.

"We're still pretty steady," Smith said. "You pull over a car get done with that vehicle, that person then you're back in line going again."

The highest speed for today was 85 mph in a 65 mph zone.

In total, State Patrol issued 18 citations and gave out 25 warnings.

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