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July 14, 2007 Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, (216) 276-5855
Fugitive Safe Surrender Offers 1st Step at a Second Chance
for Over 1,120 Fugitives in Akron, Ohio
Fugitive Safe Surrender LogoThe House of the Lord Church in Akron, OH opened its doors for four days to 1,120 fugitives: one of the largest surrender totals recorded in the program’s three year history. Fugitive Safe Surrender is a powerful new initiative that encourages persons wanted for felony or misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a faith-based location. The House of the Lord church opened its doors at 9:00 AM Wednesday, July 11 and had fugitives eagerly waiting outside the doors for their first step at a second chance. On the last day, over 600 individuals surrendered.

Fugitive Christian Smith has been on the run since 2000 and wanted for drug violations. Smith is currently employed working in a great position with a large company and walked into the doors of the House of the Lord after driving over ten hours from Atlanta, GA. Smith’s fiancé traveled from Cleveland on July 13, 2007 to Atlanta, GA with the idea of returning her fiancé back to Akron in hopes that she could end his fugitive life. Smith noted “I have not been able to sleep since 2000, now that I am clear, I know I can rest.” Three hours after Smith walked into the House of the Lord, he exited with a new life and a clean record.

“This is only of one of hundreds of great stories I have heard over the past 4 days, said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott who created the Fugitive Safe Surrender program. “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.”

On Friday July 13, 2007, Fugitive Safe Surrender celebrated its 3000th person surrendering peacefully and voluntarily in its national program. Akron is the fourth city that Fugitive Safe Surrender has targeted in an attempt to clear the court system of outstanding warrants. “This national program helps stop the madness that runs rampant through our community. I have counseled hundreds over the last four days who have walked through our church’s doors with the hope of getting that second chance at life,” stated Bishop Joey Johnson.

Fugitive Safe Surrender will be moving nationally targeting Nashville, TN in the near future. Nashville, TN has over 38,000 outstanding warrants. U.S. Marshal Denny King, Middle District of Tennessee, stated “we are working diligently with our local and state partners to make Fugitive Safe Surrender a success in Nashville.”

The final statistics for Akron’s Fugitive Safe Surrender will be made available through the United States Marshals Service at a later date.