HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – City police in Huntington, West Virginia, announced today that they will begin showing the photos of individuals convicted of soliciting prostitution on a billboard located in the city.
The locality’s law enforcement officials say the new effort is part of a comprehensive approach to the prostitution problem in the city and the larger drug problem that spawns it.
According to a news release sent to Appalachian Magazine from the police department, “On Thursday, Oct. 29, an electronic billboard at 20th Street and 3rd Avenue was scheduled to begin posting signs that warn prospective customers of prostitutes that their picture will be displayed on the billboard if they are arrested.”
According to law enforcement officials, since yesterday, three more men have been arrested for soliciting prostitution.
The arrests were made by detectives with the Special Investigations Bureau and officers assigned to anti-prostitution patrol.
Huntington Police Chief Joseph Ciccarelli said that a second, traditional billboard with the same warning will be erected within two weeks in the 800 block of 6th Avenue.
According to the chief, no individual will have their photo displayed on the billboard until after a conviction is made.
The area around Huntington was first incorporated in 1799 and is home to more than 364,000 residents and the nationally respected Marshall University.
Interestingly, the city’s enforcement of decency laws date back to nearly a century ago. Legendary Matewan gunfighter Sid Hatfield was once arrested in the city for being found in a hotel room with a woman to whom he was not married.
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