What we do

The Operation: River Watch program serves the community every weekend during the academic year on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night in two shifts: the first shift each night goes from 11:00pm-1:00am and the second shift goes from 1:00am-2:30am on Thursday night and 1:00am-3:00am on Friday and Saturday night.  Each shift needs a minimum of two (2) volunteers and a maximum of four (4).

At the beginning of each shift, volunteers will meet the La Crosse Police Reserves at the large Eagle statue at the end of State St. in Riverside Park. Volunteers will sign in and be provided with a reflective vest, flashlight, and other gear that may be needed depending on the weather (coats, hats, mittens, umbrellas, etc.). Volunteers will then patrol the walkway above the levee from the Eagle statue southwards to the end of the levee and back. During this time, volunteers watch for anyone entering the park. If anyone does enter the park during the shift, the volunteers are to calmly approach the individuals, inform them that the park is closed and no one is allowed in the park after hours, and kindly ask them to leave.

Most people are unaware the park is closed and will leave without incident. There are times, however, when volunteers encounter intoxicated individuals who are not sure of their present situation. If this is the case, volunteers should provide them with whatever assistance they need to head away from the river; if they are being difficult and refuse to listen, then they are to contact the nearby La Crosse Police Reserves for assistance.

At the end of each shift, volunteers will meet the Reserves back at the Eagle statue, return the gear, sign out, and inform the Reserves of any contacts with people they have made during their shift and fill out the corresponding form.