The Columbus Dispatch reported last week on the single engine Cessna used by Westerville police to catch speeders along Polaris Parkway and Sunbury Road. Since 2010, the Westerville Police Department has used the plane — and a private pilot — to monitor speeders and radio officers on the ground to pull over the offending vehicle.
The Dispatch, citing Cpl. Justin Alloway, reported that officers have issued 800 citations and 146 warnings using the plane, as well as caught fleeing crime suspects and drivers with warrants.
Aerial enforcement is not limited to Westerville or to catching speeders. The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s website explains that it maintains an Aviation Section consisting of 15 uniformed officer-pilots, two American Eurocopter turbine-powered helicopters, and 14 Cessna airplanes. Not only are the planes used for traffic enforcement, but they are also used for “photo missions,” marijuana location, enforcement of school bus and railroad crossing violations, targeting reckless and aggressive drivers, and those following too closely.
One particular focus — Operation “TRIAD” — targets “Reckless, Intimidating, and Aggressive Drivers.” The program is generally conducted in and around metropolitan areas (such as Columbus) and includes behaviors such as excessive speed, erratic lane changing, and following too closely.
So what to do if you are a speeder or aggressive driver in Westerville (or anywhere patrolled by OSHP)? Parked on the ground officers are not the only ones watching your speed. Look up and you might see a Cessna on your speeding tail. If you end up getting a ticket in the Westerville Mayor’s Court, our attorneys would be happy to discuss your case with you and explore your options.