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Aerial Surveillance and Traffic Tickets

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin criminal defense attorney, Wisconsin defense lawyer, traffic violationDrivers on Wisconsin roads who hear a plane overhead may want to take a second to check their speedometers. They might find that those planes are Wisconsin State Patrol flights, an aerial surveillance unit that works with officers on the ground to dole out tickets to unsuspecting drivers. The surveillance missions have led to the issuance of thousands of traffic tickets. Of course, there are certain areas that are more likely to see this sort of aerial surveillance, so motorists should be aware of when they are particularly likely to encounter these aerial patrols.

Aerial Surveillance Statistics

The state highway patrol's aircraft surveillance program has been highly effective at helping officers on the ground issue traffic tickets. Last year, officers conducted over 2,600 traffic stops as a result of tips from the aerial surveillance crew, according to a report. These stops resulted in over 1800 speeding tickets, but speeding is not all that aerial surveillance crews watch for. They also check for other traffic violations such as tailgating, and they look for more serious crimes. Aerial surveillance units have made numerous drug and felony arrests as a result of their unique vantage point.

How Aerial Surveillance Works

Aerial surveillance is a coordinated effort between a plane crew and ground officers. The Wisconsin State Patrol has a set of three small Cessna aircraft that it sends up to watch for various traffic violations, most commonly speeding. The planes' crews check for speeders using a VASCAR system, and they then report the results to officers on the ground who can pull the car over.

The VASCAR system uses special white stripes on the edge of the road in order to gauge drivers' speeds. The stripes are set a specific distance apart, so the officer can start the VASCAR when the car hits one stripe, and then turn it off when the car hits the next. The VASCAR then calculates the speed of the car based on the time it took to move that fixed distance.

This sort of aerial surveillance can often surprise motorists and result in unexpected tickets. However, there are certain areas where these aerial patrols are more likely, and where drivers should exercise extra caution. The aerial surveillance is most effective in places where police cars and officers on the ground have a hard time seeing. This can include construction areas, narrow parts of the road without shoulders, and places where squad cars cannot park to observe passing traffic.

Aerial surveillance is a unique type of evidence for criminal cases. If you have recently been charge with a crime discovered by aerial surveillance, contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney today to ensure that someone is there to protect your rights in court.

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