Officials in Southwest Missouri work to keep waterways safe for - KOAM TV 7

Officials in Southwest Missouri work to keep waterways safe for the summer


When Under Sheriff Chris Allison looks at the rivers in McDonald County, he does so with safety on his mind.

"What we're geared toward is a family-friendly place where people can come and enjoy the water," said Allison. "And that's what we're ultimately trying to accomplish."

Allison is referring to the river patrol, which consists of the full-time and reserve deputies at the sheriff's office.  

During the summer months, when the waters attract lots of people, the patrol keeps close watch.

"It's a huge huge benefit when they're presence is there," said Patrick Tinsley.

Tinsley works at Big Elk, one of many campgrounds in the county that takes part in the River Shares Project, a collaborative that helps fund the hours and man-power required to keep the waterways and campgrounds peaceful.

And all the river goers safe.
"Jumping off rocks and stuff! Just swimming, having fun, living up summer," said Cameron Bertoncino.

"Having a great summer day, just loving it," said William Hughes. 

Which is exactly what the river patrol wants.

Working around the clock, the deputies do not go under cover when patrolling.  

"Our deputies will always either be in uniform or in some type of a polo, but they will be in full uniform," said Allison.

Staying in plain sight helps to ensure everyone is having  responsible summer fun.

"It makes them think before they do something goofy," said Tinsley.

"Just being seen is a big deterrent for people. If they know that we're out there and we're watching it helps keep peace a little more peaceful," said Allison. 

The river patrol stresses the importance of following rules when in, or near, water.  Some of these include no glass bottles, having proper life vests, and monitoring alcohol consumption..  

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