LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Adam Bradley and Matt Krueger's walks in Riverside Park probably total 20 hours each year.
Tuesday, they felt like they were seeing the Mississippi River for the first time.
"You really can't see the river that well at night," said Krueger, the student body president at Viterbo University.
Bradley and Krueger are usually out patrolling the park when it's dark as part of Operation River Watch.
Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, students from UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University and Western Technical College walk along the river in the late night and early morning hours, scanning the area.
"It's dark out, it's very dangerous," Krueger said.
They make sure no one gets hurt after dark.
"These drop offs right here, one bad step and you can fall right in," Krueger said pointing to the rocks by the river's edge. "And, that's not good. Especially if no one is down here and a person all alone falls in here."
Operation River Watch started in 2006 after the body of a UW-La Crosse student was pulled out of the Mississippi River.
"It was the out cry of the community, UW-(La Crosse) in particular, that they didn't want to see something that tragic happen again if any situation were to come up, if there was somebody in need of help -- which isn't by any means the typical case," said Bradley, director of Operation River Watch. "Mostly, the cases people aren't intoxicated and there's a lot of good things going. They just don't know the park is closed."
The initiative even works with the La Crosse Police Department Reserves Unit, which provides vests and radios to the teams to communicate directly with the department.
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