United States Marshal Pete Elliott will join Cuyahoga County
Prosecutor Bill Mason, and other law enforcement, judicial,
media, and religious leaders at Cleveland’s Mount Siani Baptist
Church on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at
11 a.m. to announce the launch of Fugitive Safe Surrender in
County. The idea for Fugitive Safe Surrender was generated by
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott and is an innovative faith-based pilot
project that encourages fugitives with outstanding felony
warrants to surrender to the court in safety at Mt. Siani
Baptist Church, under the watch of the church’s Senior Pastor,
Dr. C. Jay Matthews. The goal of Fugitive Safe Surrender is to
reduce risk to neighborhoods in which fugitive’s hide, law
enforcement officers who pursue fugitives, and fugitives
themselves. Fugitive Safe Surrender is believed to be the first
program of its kind in the nation.
3-6, 2005, judges from the
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
will hold court in church from 9am-5pm daily. The Cuyahoga
County Sheriff’s Office and will be present to assist in the
identification of surrendering individuals and ensure the safety
of all involved; the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office will be
present to assess the facts of each case individually and make
bond and plea recommendations to the court; and the Cuyahoga
County Public Defender's Office will be present to represent
surrendering persons who are indigent. Surrendering fugitives
with no history of violence who are wanted for a non-violent
offense may receive probation and services for their surrender;
fugitives wanted for violent offenses and/or those who have a
history of violence will receive favorable consideration from
the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office and the Common Pleas
Court for their surrender.
pose a serious risk to our neighborhoods, to law enforcement,
and to themselves,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason
“We’re pioneering a new approach here – partnering law
enforcement, the community, the media, and the court to bring
these individuals in and better protect the safety of everyone
involved.” Partner organizations that have signed on to ensure
the success of Fugitive Safe Surrender include the Cleveland
Municipal Court, the Cuyahoga Regional Information System, the
Cuyahoga County and City of Cleveland Clerks of Court, and the
Cleveland Police Department. The Ohio Attorney General's
Office's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation is
also providing technological assistance to the effort.
Northern District of Ohio we have over 50,000 outstanding
warrants”. We were looking at innovated steps to address our
fugitive issue and serve our community”. “That’s what inspired
this idea”. Said United States Marshal Pete Elliott.
Safe Surrender non-profit/faith-based partners include the
5,000-member Mt. Siani Baptist Church, as well as the 100-church
United Pastors in Mission. Lutheran Ministry's Community
Re-Entry and its director, Charles See, are also essential
Fugitive Safe Surrender partners, and nearly 50 members of Mt.
Sinai's congregation have volunteered to assist in both the
lead-up to and four-day implementation of the project. Fugitive
Safe Surrender private sector partners include Clear Channel
Radio, Clear Channel Outdoor, WKYC-TV3 (NBC) in Cleveland and DC
Strategic Partners, LLC. There is an aggressive public outreach
effort associated with the project in which these radio,
television and outdoor companies have teamed with federal, state
and local law enforcement, prosecutors and court authorities to
provide significant airtime and billboard space at no cost.
Additionally, more than 2,000 fliers are also being posted and
distributed hand-to-hand across Cleveland's Fourth Police
District - the project's target area - and 2,000 mailers are
being sent to fugitives’ last known addresses to explain this
unique opportunity and encourage participation. Signage is also
being posted in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, U.S.
Safe Surrender has established a toll-free hotline (1-877-9-NEW
START), which fugitives or their loved ones may call to check
their legal status and obtain more information on the program.
Assistant prosecuting attorneys and sheriff’s deputies will
answer that line from 9am-8pm July 25 through August 6, 2005.