Troopers Doing Ground and Sky Patrol - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Troopers Doing Ground and Sky Patrol

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You can expect lots of travelers this 4th of July week, and as they do every year, law enforcement authorities want you to drive safely.

What North Dakota drivers might not realize is that their speed is being watched from several vantage points.

Lots of holiday travelers are cruising down the interstate this week of the fourth.

But before you think about speeding to your destination, you should know, you might be being watched.

"This just gives us another option in which to keep the motoring public safe obviously, find violators out there." says Sgt. Steven Fischer, North Dakota Highway Patrol

Ground patrol is out in force with an extra eye in the sky, helping track down offenders.

"They're maybe not totally surprised once you tell them what the speed is, but you assure them that's what indeed it was that they were clocked for, and it wasn't by radar."

"A lot of people don't understand how we can clock their speed from the air, but it's not actually by radar, it's by stop watch, like I said time and distance." says Shannon Henke, North Dakota Highway Patrol.

What he sees is vehicles these white markers from the sky.

When drivers pass them, he clocks it on his stop watch and gauges how fast you are going over several miles.

"Basically what I'm looking for right now, is vehicles passing vehicles, speeding

"Vehicles that are exceeding the speed limit and also following." says Henke.

Trooper Shannon Henke gets to use his pilot's license to oversee traffic safety from a much different vantage point.

"We have advantage on the air over the guys on the ground, having to watch them above, guys in squad cars might not be able to see violations..." says Henke.

From below, troopers explain to drivers how they were caught.

"There are some surprised people but they understand that this is what they've done and for the most part take responsibility for it." says Sgt. Fischer.

The overall goal isn't to be the bad guy, but rather to target bad drivers during construction and a busy holiday travel season.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has two pilots in the department right now.

They will be patrolling again from the sky after the fourth.

The patrol plane is used all over the state including in Minot, Grand Forks and Fargo.

It's not just used for traffic violations, but also to assist with suspects on the run, search and rescue and flood aerials.

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