Posted Sunday, July 1, 2012 --- 2:25 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin State Patrol's aerial patrols are still catching speeders, and officials say the patrols are valuable for public safety, despite the cost.
The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that in 2011, the State Patrol spent about $54,000 flying three planes for a total of 453 hours. It's estimated about 3,200 speeders were caught.
John Bowman is communications director for the National Motorists Association. He questions the program's cost and effectiveness.
But officials say the planes are effective, especially in construction zones, and are a small part of the State Patrol's $80 million annual budget.
The state has three Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplanes. During a typical patrol, a plane circles overhead and lets troopers on the ground know when someone is speeding. The officer on the ground makes the stop.