Volunteers patrol river banks in La Crosse

Group hopes to keep students safe

With college students back in La Crosse for another school year, volunteers have returned to the banks of the Mississippi River to make sure all are safe.

Operation River Watch is an organization of college students from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo and Western Technical College, as well as community volunteers. They patrol Riverside Park at night when young people are out at the nearby bars and might gravitate to the river.

Since the river watch began in 2006, two intoxicated college students have drowned in the Mississippi River, but both were outside the area volunteers patrol.

WKBT-TV said the volunteers are on watch from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.