May 28, 2005 10:17 AM by Joe Blackmon
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED, the long-running crime-fighting show on FOX, is using donated billboard space in Detroit to help catch hard-to-find fugitives, host John Walsh announced recently at a national convention of the outdoor advertising industry in Chicago. "Billboards work. Billboards are one more way to empower the public to help police apprehend accused criminals – some of whom are killers and sexual predators," said Walsh.
The first AMERICA’S MOST WANTED billboard was installed in Detroit, MI, on May 9, featuring a photo of a murder suspect and a toll-free number for anonymous tips. The billboard space was donated by Viacom Outdoor. Walsh said he looks forward to having billboard space available to display future cases profiled on AMW.
Late last year, Walsh was impressed that "wanted" information posted on a freeway billboard in the Kansas City area helped police to apprehend a suspect in connection with the 2002 murder of Ali Kemp, 19. According to police, two productive tips from the public led to an arrest in the Kemp case on Nov. 9, 2004: the first tip was generated by AMERICA’S MOST WANTED, the second from a billboard donated by Lamar Advertising Company.
The victim’s father, Roger Kemp of Leawood, KS, encouraged expanded use of billboards to catch criminals. "Like many good ideas, this one came from a citizen who figured out how to do things better," said Walsh. Prompted by success in Kansas City and encouragement from Roger Kemp, the outdoor advertising industry offered to help Walsh and AMERICA’S MOST WANTED.
"The goal of public service – to make a difference – comes into clear focus when we can help make communities safer and also help bring closure to families victimized by crime," said Nancy Fletcher, president and CEO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). The 2005 OAAA National Convention and Trade Show was held in Chicago May 22-24.
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK is in its 18th season and airs Saturdays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK is produced by STF Productions, Inc. Lance Heflin is executive producer.