New TV in Rock County Courthouse leads to suspect arrests - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New TV in Rock County Courthouse leads to suspect arrests

JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Rock County authorities have a new crime fighting technology that's already led to several arrests.

Janesville Area Crime Stoppers has been posting billboard ads for "Rock County's Most Wanted" suspects throughout town since 2008. Officer Chad Sullivan says the six billboards have led to the arrest of every suspect pictured, except for one. That's about 120 criminals off the street. The department also uses the billboards for amber alerts and missing persons.

Now, Janesville is teaming up with Greater Beloit Area Crime Stoppers to put those images where police believe it could be most helpful: the courthouse. Police have installed a TV on the wall in the intake courtroom's waiting area. It loops pictures and graphics about Rock County's missing suspects and the crimes police believe they committed.

Beloit Police Detective John Fahrney says it's the best place to find people with the most information about these unsolved crimes.

"People are usually in court because they're in trouble and the people that are in trouble are going be the people that know where the criminals are," says Fahrney. "A lot of people that know or have information aren't willing to share it with us, because they're afraid they're going to end up in court."

Police say people feel more comfortable calling Crime Stoppers because they can remain anonymous.

The TV billboard can be updated daily, and can also include emergency announcements like weather and breaking news.

Since it was installed last Thursday, police say they've already gotten a number of tips that have led to several arrests.

"Within a matter of minutes of having it up, powered up and working, we had a defense attorney that saw one of their clients up and told us that person was in court the other day and now they're in Rhode Island," says Sullivan.

Another case: a grandmother saw her grandson on the TV and called police to say he was already in custody in a different Wisconsin county jail.

Last year, Janesville and Beloit's crime stoppers programs combined took more than a thousand tip calls resulting in 200 arrests, and nearly $400-thousand in recovered property. Police say the two departments working together will just help bring more resources and more tips to find their most wanted.

Police focus on postings about suspects they believe have moved out of the Rock County area, because they say those can be the hardest ones to find.

The TV feed costs $100 per month, paid for by both crime stoppers programs. The digital billboards are provided for free by the billboards' owner.


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Rock County authorities have a new crime fighting technology that's already led to several arrests.

It's a joint initiative between Janesville and Beloit police. Last Thursday, police installed a television in the Rock County Courthouse showing the area's most wanted criminals and missing persons.

Within minutes, a defense attorney recognized one of the suspects on screen and was able to help police locate her. Since then, several tips have been offered leading to a few arrests.

The TV is paid for by Janesville and Beloit Crime Stoppers. It costs $100 per month.

Police say the idea came after the department saw success with their six digital billboards throughout town, posting similar pictures of suspects and getting a good response from the public. Since the digital billboards were installed in 2008, police have arrested at least 120 people.

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