Winnebago deputies use billboards to find wanted people

Authorities turn to advertising to track down outstanding warrants
Winnebago deputies use billboards to find wanted people

Law enforcement officials in Winnebago County are turning to billboards as a way to track down people who have outstanding arrest warrants.

Three digital billboards along Highway 41 between Oshkosh and Neenah will display six individuals, whose details and mugshots will rotate among other ads shown on the billboards, the Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported.

The first ads went up last week. Authorities hope the extra publicity will generate a wave of new leads.

“We have hundreds upon hundreds of warrants that are open at any time and they’re always changing,” Winnebago Sheriff’s Lt. Lara Vendola-Messer said. “We’re hoping to reach a greater span of people.”

The people featured in the ads will be local residents who have recent warrants.

The ad space is being donated by Lamar Advertising, which has entered into similar partnerships elsewhere in Wisconsin that have proven successful, Vendola-Messer said.

The sheriff’s office maintains a list of active warrants for the county. It provides the information and photos to Lamar Advertising, and if a wanted person is found the billboard will be updated to note the resolution until information about a new individual can be provided.

“The goal is to satisfy the warrant,” Vendola-Messer said. “People owe lots of money or jail time for sentences that they are supposed to be serving.”