Is That Plane Following Me?

If you were traveling along Highway 57 in Door County on Thursday, Nov. 10, and believed a Cessna 172 Skyhawk seemed to be following you, perhaps you weren’t just paranoid.

The Wisconsin State Patrol conducted aerial enforcement last week in Door County and five other counties: Dodge, Portage, Marathon, Walworth and Waukesha. 

The primary mission of the monitoring – a day of air surveillance from the State Patrol Air Support Unit – was public safety and enforcing traffic laws, according to the State Patrol. From the air, it’s much easier to spot drivers who are speeding or driving aggressively. 

The State Patrol’s aircraft program consists of three Cessna 172 Skyhawks and five pilots. By using a timing device (VASCAR), the pilots can clock target vehicles suspected of traveling at excessive speeds and then call down to waiting ground cars to initiate traffic stops.

As the only statewide police aerial support unit, the State Patrol has received increasing requests from local sheriff and police agencies to provide air support for such things as covert and drug-activity surveillance, tracking of criminal suspects, VIP escort support, searches for missing persons and downed planes, aerial photography and emergency organ transport.