Iowa State Patrol pilots monitor roadways from above

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As the wheels of the plane lift, State Trooper Todd Brechwald sinks into his comfort zone.

“The view is second to none. I couldn’t even paint a picture that pretty,” says Brechwald.

If you haven’t seen Trooper Brechwald on the roadways, it’s because he doesn’t usually drive your average patrol vehicle. Instead, he monitors from above.

“If it’s a capable day for flying they’re going to be up,” Iowa State Patrol Trooper John Farley said.

The troopers on the ground work with pilots to monitor the roadways more efficiently.

Brechwald says, “They issue the citation, what I do is make the observation.”

Using hash marks along the roadways to time how long it takes a driver to get from one end to the other, pilots are able to tell a drivers speed with just a stopwatch and some simple math.

Brechwald says, “I’ll watch just prior to them hitting that zone and then as they’re passing over that zone so it gives them the benefit of the doubt on the distance.”

A patrol pilot can call down anywhere from 40 to 70 citations in a day of flying.

“Speed is the number one killer in our state right now,” Brechwald said. “We have more people dying because of excessive speed so for us to be able to go out and slow people down and provide that service of safety for everybody that’s traveling on the roadways, that’s very important.”

And they do much more than just monitor roadways.

“Those aircraft are utilized in so many different aspects. Relays of organs and medicines, even our dignitaries are utilized through the state patrol aircraft,” Farley said.

Brechwald says, “Gaming enforcement, we’ll look for missing persons, I found an older gentleman that had been trapped under his four-wheeler in a creek, I’ve gone looking for people that were committing crimes.”

Providing life-saving services no other law enforcement could. Because whether they’re on the ground or in the sky, the Iowa State Patrols mission remains the same.

“It’s making sure the public is being safe,” says Farley.

“I don’t know if you can have a better job,” says Brechwald.

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