LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Every year, thousands gather in La Crosse to celebrate Oktoberfest.
While the annual tradition is about having a good time, for police in the La Crosse area, safety is a big concern. Most, if not all, of city and campus police are on the clock for the weekend of Oktoberfest.
And this year, they're doing something a little differently on UWL's campus to make sure students are safe.
"Drinking and driving, over consumption and staying with friends."
These are three major concerns both city and campus police have during Oktoberfest, said Jason Melby, a captain with the La Crosse Police Department.
"The university police we've planned for this year round we work very closely with the city, we coordinate our efforts actually," said Scott McCullough, chief of police at UW-La Crosse.
Because Oktoberfest is so close to two college campuses, law enforcement faces a few challenges. But this year, the La Crosse police department will be joined by a new partner.
Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions is allowing the police department to use the Aguilera apartment building as a campus command center, after losing their spot at the former Jade Cafe.
"There is no doubt, the area over on the campus we have to have our officers over there and after losing the one area, for a possible command post, and then having Three Sixty Realty step up for us like this and allow us to use the space, was huge," said Melby.
Because safety, is their main focus.
"We pretty much have everybody working, there is nobody on vacation throughout the weekend, we have people on bikes, on foot, in vehicles, on UTVS, just about any way you can patrol that's what we're doing," said McCullough.
Having a designated command center on campus makes it easier to ensure safety.
"Be close enough to everything that's going on in the campus housing area, to be able to respond in a quick manner if needed," said Melby.
The La Crosse Police Department will begin setting up their command center Thursday and will be there all Friday and Saturday night.
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