In 2014, the La Crosse Police Department established a Water Patrol Unit. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Water Patrol Unit is the first for our Department in over 30 years.
The Water Patrol Unit consists of 22 sworn officers specifically trained in Water Patrol Operations who patrol over 19 miles of waterways within the City of La Crosse. The mission of the Unit includes the following objectives:
- To detect and investigate alleged boating law violations; and
- To enforce Wisconsin State Statute s. 30.50 and 30.80 and local ordinances written under s. 30.77(3); and
- To be immediately available to perform search and rescue missions for individuals reasonably believed to be alive, in distress, and in a life-threatening situation.
Throughout 2014, the Water Patrol Unit responded to over 160 boating-related contacts and calls for service. The members of the unit worked 293 hours on the water, issued 22 boating citations and 78 written warnings. Several boating accidents were investigated, including a boating crash in which a boat struck a floating tree and sunk. The Water Patrol Unit was also involved in searches for missing boaters and persons.