About those Washington State Patrol overnight flyovers

Some asked today in comments and email about a Washington State Patrol plane flying over West Seattle repeatedly overnight. We inquired with WSP, and here’s what they told us: It’s related to the ongoing investigation of people throwing rocks at vehicles along I-90. WSP says it’s had a plane up using FLIR – infrared radar – in hopes of spotting trouble before it happens, in areas where someone’s “heat signature” might reveal what troopers can’t see on the ground. They’ve been mostly flying “rounds” – circle the emphasis area (particularly I-90 at Rainier) for a while, go away for 15 minutes or so, come back. And WSP says they’ve been trying to fly high enough that it’s not a noise problem for neighborhoods, but they have to fly lower when there’s cloud cover, and that’s why you might have heard them overnight but not other nights. WSP has arrested some suspects – including one just yesterday – but the problem persists. (The plane, by the way, is based in Olympia. WSP does not fly helicopters.)

19 Replies to "About those Washington State Patrol overnight flyovers"

  • Brian July 21, 2021 (4:41 pm)

    “It’s not a problem until it is a problem because, gee, wouldn’t you know it there are clouds in Seattle. So now you just need to deal with overt surveillance along with the noise because we said so. Cool? Cool.”

  • Just wondering July 21, 2021 (5:10 pm)

    I can put up with the noise of the plane unlike the noise of recent fireworks which caused me to startle and jump!

  • Flivver July 21, 2021 (7:06 pm)

    Brian. I assume that if YOUR car gets hit by a rock thrower you’ll DEMAND that NO “surveillance” video be used to identify the person. Right????? 

    • Brian July 21, 2021 (9:42 pm)

      Yeah it seems like an outsized response to something that could be solved by other means. Glad we agree. 

      • Auntie July 21, 2021 (10:12 pm)

        And just what might those other means be? Perhaps you should enlighten WSP so they can just get right on that.

        • Brian July 22, 2021 (3:37 am)

          I’d be glad to provide WSP with any of my tiered consulting fees if they want to reach out, sure. I’m not giving this information away for free, though. 

          • Dribble July 30, 2021 (9:03 pm)

            Tell’em Brian! When monetary needs have become a cut-throat in the midst of nationwide struggle, ain’t nothin for free. Even everyone who applied for ESD paid with their entire profiles identity with their breach.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees July 21, 2021 (7:21 pm)

    WSP should have been making these flyover patrols after the first few rock-throwing incidents and not waited until there’s been 180+ and dozens of injuries. ANY one of those impacts could have been fatal. If these were tiny little bullets hitting cars instead of giant rocks that can literally decapitate a driver or passenger, WSP would’ve closed I-90 and had a 24/7 air-to-ground dragnet until an arrest.

    • WSB July 21, 2021 (8:23 pm)

      Why do you assume they weren’t? I didn’t say this was the first time. I’ve never asked about it before because this is the first time we’ve had reader questions, and as noted, the cloud ceiling contributed to that. There’s a lot of air traffic that goes unnoted (the FAA for example has had a plane doing loops again recently, for example. we noticed it on flight tracker but nobody asked about it). – TR

  • Flivver July 21, 2021 (8:29 pm)

    Based on tv reports WSP HAS been doing flyovers plus added patrol vehicles for quite a while.

  • 🐜 July 21, 2021 (9:57 pm)

    Yet another reason why you shouldn’t let drug addicted/mentally ill people camp next to a freeway. Thankfully no one has been killed yet and it looks like the city is actually going to do something to clear these dangerous camps out

    • Tweedle dee tweedle dumb July 30, 2021 (9:10 pm)

      Pffft. More like… why we all need to seriously rethink how we tackle the homeless crisis. People wouldn’t be stealing food at Safeway’s or goodwill if they were allowed at feeds and shelters that kick them out for their drug or mental health struggles… or people having treated them badly so they decided not to go to those places anymore. If these people were provided any activity (without ridicule or shame) or opportunity… many would be happy to take it. Now that only happens after building trust… which takes a while if you are bad off enough to be under one of the freeway underpasses. I wish this wasn’t such rocket science, and I don’t believe I have scratched further than the surface on this. But how can you possibly respond about where a homeless person with drug or mental health struggles can stay… when the society we live in today shames them to those places?

  • So Tired of This! July 21, 2021 (10:03 pm)

    WSDOT has said they won’t put up barriers because there are just too many spots along the freeways!!! Well we definitely know one of the major hotspots!!! And it is happening to people who are completely blind coming out of a tunnel!!  Get it the F*@K together Department of Transportation and put some barriers in place for this below the earth scum that are creating havoc on decent tax paying people of society and for once protect the people that pay for all of the BS that these others suck from us!!! 

    • Cheese crust and holy toast July 30, 2021 (9:14 pm)

      And what have the taxpayers done but make it 1000x harder for any homeless person to exist anywhere… hence resorting to being tucked under a bridge. LoL. Poor tax payer.I feel sorry for the people who had rocks thrown at their cars. I don’t have a single shred of sympathy for a complaining person who talks s–t about a situation they couldn’t care less to actually know or want better for… therefore… making the issue complained about complicit. 

  • 1WS Resident July 22, 2021 (9:10 am)

    Very happy to see the police being proactive and using aerial surveillance to try to stop these sick assaults before someone gets killed.  Better yet would be to expand the laws to fully embrace drone surveillance. In the current scenario a couple of drones could be programed to fly continuous loops around the trouble area without the airplane/helicopter noise and pilot expense.  And frankly, I am not overly concerned about that surveillance being used against me. As long as I am not doing anything illegal I should be fine.  But if I do a crime, I need to do the time. I am willing to live with that because living in a place that is safe for me and my family is more important than anything else.  Our right to not be attacked, beaten, permanently crippled or murdered by crazy people and drug addicts should override their “right” to be free to commit crimes while we evaluate their mood swings to see what they were “feeling” as they are beating people to death.

  • Marcus July 22, 2021 (2:06 pm)

    Such an eye sore, travelled that corridor for years and that is the first impression of Seattle after the Mount Baker Tunnel.  A compassionate society does not let people live this way.  Glad this is getting cleaned up.  By the way a rock hit my car very late one night in another city.  Not fun and very dangerous.

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