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U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Safe Surrender

Phoenix, Arizona - November 15-18, 2006

Fugitive Safe Surrender in the Phoenix/Maricopa County area took place on November 15-18, 2006 under the leadership of David Gonzales, United States Marshal for the District of Arizona. The operation was an overwhelming success, with more than 1,300 individuals turning themselves in to law enforcement over the four-day period.

Encouraged by the success of the first Fugitive Safe Surrender operation in Cleveland, Ohio, Marshal Gonzales worked for almost a year with community and criminal justice leaders to lay the groundwork for a successful operation in Phoenix. Bishop Alexis A. Thomas of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church agreed to serve as the faith-based leader of Fugitive Safe Surrender in Phoenix and hosted the surrender days in his church.

Key partners in Phoenix included the United States Marshals Service, the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Hewlett-Packard, Cox Media, Hughes-Calihan, ValueOptions, and D.C. Strategic Partners, LLC.

Other key participants included the Honorable James H. Keppel, Presiding Criminal Judge, and the Honorable Brian K. Ishikawa, Associate Presiding Criminal Judge of the Superior Court of Arizona (Maricopa County), senior staff from offices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas, Clerk of the Superior Court Michael K. Jeanes, Public Defender James Haas and the Adult Probation Department, and the Phoenix Police Department.

In all, 386 felony warrants were cleared, as were 114 misdemeanor warrants. Most of the other individuals who surrendered were wanted on warrants outside of the local jurisdiction or presented themselves in the mistaken belief that they were wanted on charges that had been dismissed or otherwise adjudicated. Several individuals surrendered who were never wanted at all.

Individuals who surrendered during the Phoenix operation were asked to complete a voluntary survey, and more than 90% of them did so, thus providing valuable information for future Fugitive Safe Surrender operations. The vast majority of those surrendering had heard about the program through television or print media. Sixty percent of those surrendering came with a family member, and most of the program participants indicated that they wanted to surrender so they could either get a fresh start on life or get a job. Many also indicated that they were fearful of being arrested and found surrendering to be an attractive alternative.

In most cities in which Fugitive Safe Surrender will take place, the Marshals Service hopes to work not only with the religious and legal/judicial communities, but also with counseling and job placements services to assist those who seek to turn their lives around. Participants responding to the survey in Phoenix indicated that job training, education, substance abuse counseling, parenting skills training, mental health services, and anger management support were services that they would find helpful if available to them.

The Marshals Service has enlisted the assistance of Kent State University to prepare, compile, and analyze the results of the survey and assist in future Fugitive Safe Surrender operations.

 

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