Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) -- You rarely hear about the Louisville Metro Police Department's River Patrol Unit, but they're out along 38 miles of the Ohio River from Hardin to Oldham counties, each and every day with an integral role: protecting the public safety of the water.
Never is that more important than on July Fourth celebrations, with hundreds of people expected to party along Louisville's waterfront and in the water itself to watch fireworks late into the night.
It's not just catching boaters who are under the influence of alcohol (BUI), though they call that their holy grail. It's performing water rescues, dealing with non-emergencies (like boat-breakdowns), performing inspections and safety checks, as well as searching for evidence when it is necessary to a case.
The four-man River Patrol Unit, plus divers, has a fleet of four boats and works hours per day, often in the sweltering summer heat.
They also work with numerous agencies, including area fire departments, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others.
WHAS11 got an exclusive look at their enforcement with a Independence Day ride along.