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U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Safe Surrender


Chester, Pennsylvania – September 30-October 3, 2009

White Rock Christian Church in Chester, PAThe White Rock Christian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania, was the scene of the most recent Fugitive Safe Surrender operation, opening its doors to 447 individuals who took the opportunity to surrender to law enforcement and help pave the way for a more successful future.  Beginning on Wednesday, September 30th, and continuing through Saturday, October 3rd, this was the second successful Fugitive Safe Surrender undertaken in eastern Pennsylvania, and the 16th nationally.  John Patrignani, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Pastor Edward C. Lilly of White Rock Christian Church, led the operation, which encouraged individuals with outstanding warrants to surrender to authorities in a non-threatening environment.  “It was a terrific opportunity for all the residents of Delaware County to use this resource to turn themselves in safely, get the warrants that they have cleared up, be home the same day, and then carry on with their lives,” said Marshal Patrignani.

One participant, the mother of one-year-old triplets, summed up her experience at Fugitive Safe Surrender Chester, by saying, “I’m going to feel great knowing I won’t have to watch my back anymore.”

Pastor Lilly pointed out an additional benefit.  “We think it’s a safety net for the community, as well, because we won’t have officers going out to arrest these people who have warrants.”  He continued, “More than that, it will take a load off people’s shoulders.”

Reverend Joel McGee, of the nearby Providence Baptist Church, also was a key player in mobilizing the faith-based community in Chester, and coordinated much of the grass-roots advertising.

Although 16% of the almost 400 people surveyed expected to be arrested that day, only 14 individuals (or 1.4% of those who participated), were taken into custody, predominantly those with warrants from other jurisdictions.  Those arrested included a sex offender who had failed to register, and had subsequently threatened the victim, as well.  Those with non-violent warrants were typically given bond, assigned new court dates, and released directly from the church.

Law enforcement partners included the Chester Police Department, the Delaware County Courthouse, and Park Police Department, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Adult Probation and Parole, and Delaware County Juvenile Probation.

Legal team partners within Delaware County included the Court of Common Pleas, the Magisterial District Courts, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and the Domestic Relations Section of Delaware County.

Additional partners within Delaware County were the CP-District Court Administrator’s Office, CP-Court Clerk Services, Pre-Trial/Bail Services Unit, the Office of Judicial Support, the Department of Community Service, the Office of Court Financial Services, Children and Youth Services, the Office of the Executive Director, and the Office of Public Relations.

Crucial technical support was provided by the Delaware County Data Processing Department and the Pennsylvania Justice Network.

Community partners included the MAB Paint Store, Widener University, Widener University Law School – Public Interest Resource Center, and the Widener University Legal Education Institute.  Additional support was provided by City of Chester Mayor Wendell Butler.


Fugitive Safe Surrender


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If you have an outstanding warrant and you wish to surrender to authorities prior to a formal Fugitive Safe Surrender operation coming to your area, you should contact your local police department or USMS district office. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice