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U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Safe Surrender

Wilmington, Delaware - April 29-May 2, 2009

Fugitive Safe Surrender in the State of Delaware took place during the last week of April 2009, under the leadership of David Thomas, United States Marshal for the District of Delaware.  Over the course of the four-day surrender period, 1,073 individuals with outstanding warrants took the opportunity to surrender to law enforcement and help pave the way for a more successful future. 

Marshal Thomas had worked for three years to bring Fugitive Safe Surrender to Delaware.  “I see this whole effort as the truest form of community policing and involvement – one that builds bridges,” Marshal Thomas said.

FSS - Wilmington PhotoThe Bishop Thomas Wesley Weeks, Sr., pastor of New Destiny Fellowship Church, agreed to host Fugitive Safe Surrender – Delaware in his church, with additional faith-based leadership coming from Elder Ty Johnson with Churches Take A Corner (CTAC).  Dozens of volunteers from New Destiny Fellowship, Widener University, and the community at large helped to make this initiative run as smoothly as it did, exceeding all expectations in terms of number of surrenderees. 

Said Bishop Aretha Morton of Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral, “I encouraged people to come out and take care of outstanding legal issues….  I saw this as a great opportunity.”

Front line law enforcement partners include the Wilmington Police Department, the Delaware State Police, the Delaware Capitol Police, the New Castle County Police, the Dover Police, the Newark Police, Delaware State Probation and Parole, and the Delaware Department of Corrections.

Partners within the justice system include the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, the Justice of the Peace Court, the Court of Common Pleas, Family Court, Superior Court, the Delaware Administrative Office of the Courts, the Delaware Department of Justice, the Delaware Public Defender’s Office, the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, the Division of Child Support Enforcement, and the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System.  Additional support was provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Preliminary results showed that almost 3,750 charges were cleared, and only six people were arrested, including two of the Division of Child Support Enforcement’s Most Wanted.  Approximately 10% of the people who surrendered had felony warrants pending.

One participant commented about life with a warrant.  “Walking on eggshells for almost a year-and-a-half is a pretty dangerous situation,” he said.  However, after clearing his warrant through Fugitive Safe Surrender, “we’ll celebrate every day.”

Fugitive Safe Surrender – Delaware was funded through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Capacity Development Office.

 

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