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U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Safe Surrender

Akron, Ohio – July 11-14, 2007

Fugitive Safe Surrender in the Akron/Summit County area took place on July 11-14, 2007, under the leadership of Peter J. Elliott, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio. One of the most successful Fugitive Safe Surrender operations to be conducted by the Marshals Service, the program resulted in 1,125 individuals turning themselves in to law enforcement over the four-day period.

The very first Fugitive Safe Surrender operation took place in Cleveland, Ohio, in August 2005. Encouraged by the success of that operation, as well as similar programs in Phoenix, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Indiana, Marshal Elliott was determined to replicate it in Summit County. For more than a year, he worked with community and criminal justice leaders to lay the groundwork for a successful operation in Akron. Bishop Joey Johnson of The House of the Lord Church agreed to serve as the faith-based leader of Fugitive Safe Surrender in Akron and hosted the surrender days in his church. Bishop Johnson recruited more than 100 volunteers from both his church and the community at large to assist with FSS functions during the four-day surrender period.

Akron Leadership TeamIn addition to the Marshals Service, key judicial participants included the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the Summit County Common Pleas Court, and the Akron Municipal Court. Judge John R. Adams, Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh, and Presiding Judge John E. Holcomb, provided invaluable support throughout program development and the four days of the operation. Summit County Clerk of Court Daniel M. Horrigan and Akron Municipal Court Clerk of Court Jim Laria also worked tirelessly to assist in the FSS-Akron program development.

Front-line law enforcement partners included the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Akron Police Department. Others who were instrumental in the program’s success included the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Akron City Prosecutor‘s Office, as well as the Summit County Legal Defender, the Akron Bar Association, the University of Akron Law School, the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office, Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Oriana House of Akron, the Urban League of Akron, and Clear Channel Radio.

Of the more than 1,100 individuals who surrendered, approximately 100 were wanted on outstanding felony warrants. Each of the individuals who surrendered with an active warrant was seen by a judge at the Fugitive Safe Surrender site for disposition of his or her case. Nearly all of the individuals who were wanted on non-violent warrants were given bond, new court dates, or released directly from the church, while only six individuals were arrested due to the violent nature of the crimes for which they had been charged.

Both hard-luck and feel-good stories abounded through the course of the operation. Retelling the story of one fugitive, who had traveled all the way from Atlanta at the urging of his fiancé in order to clear up his outstanding warrant, Marshal Elliott said, “This is only one of hundreds of great stories I have heard over the past four days. Fugitive Safe Surrender opens doors for fugitives who think that there is no door to open. The opportunity for fugitives to surrender peacefully creates a winning solution for law enforcement, the families of the fugitive, and the community.”

 

Fugitive Safe Surrender

 

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