Digital billboards will aid police

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007
— Three siblings, the children of divorced parents, spend the weekend with their father.

They are expected to return home Sunday night, but don't.

The father, believed to be depressed and suicidal, is suspected of taking the kids out of state.

Their mother calls police, and an AMBER Alert is issued.

This particular situation is hypothetical, but it happens all too often in real life.

Efforts to help rescue children left in this situation were enhanced locally over the weekend as Lamar Outdoor Advertising erected six digital billboards. Along with displaying advertisements, the billboards provide an alternative for police to reach the public quickly.

"We've made the digital billboard available to the Janesville Police Department in the event they're looking for any type of criminal suspect, missing child or person," said Brad Yarmark, general manager of Lamar in Janesville.

Lamar can splash a police artist sketch or even a low-resolution photograph on a digital billboard within minutes of getting an image from police.

"We can even take a photo from a Web site because the digital billboards have an Internet connection," Yarmark added.

Deputy Chief David Moore said Tuesday he intends to share this billboard opportunity with department staff "so if in the event we need help, we can use it.

"Many of our crimes are solved by tips or clues from citizens, and the more our community is aware of crimes the better chance we have of solving them," he said. "The department is very appreciative that this business has reached out to us and offered their assistance."

Lamar, like other state outdoor billboard advertising companies, is tied into and able to participate with AMBER Alerts just like broadcast stations, Yarmark said.

Lamar Digital Displays in Janesville are located at the Center Avenue Bridge, Milton Avenue at Holiday Drive, the Memorial Drive Bridge, West Court Street at Crosby Avenue, Highway 14 next to Dunham's Sports and Highway 14 north of where the highway splits with Highway 11.

Lamar doesn't plan to put up any more digital billboards in the city at this time, Yarmark said.

Last updated: 5:14 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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