Alcohol Patrol

The La Crosse Police Department says its late-night shift to curb drinking has proven a success since it was started early last year.

The department formed the so-called "fourth shift" to focus on university and downtown areas. Officers work several nights a week from 7 PM to 3 AM patrolling on foot and in their cars.

Police Captain Gary Uting says the shift has helped the city deal with alcohol issues though it's unclear how many crimes officers have prevented.

But judging by the number of liquor citations issued, the shift is having sizable impact. Last year, city police issued nearly $2,400 alcohol related citations. That's almost 600 more than 2004 and nearly 900 more than the year before that.

He says officers try to focus on solving problems, such as working with people who sell alcohol.