Skip to Content

U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Safe Surrender

 News Clips

  • September 29, 2010 - United States Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge honored the Cleveland Fugitive Safe Surrender program on the United States Congressional House Floor last week where 7,431 fugitives surrendered during the four day program.
  • August 02, 2010 - The Fugitive Safe Surrender program recently held in Las Cruces, New Mexico July 28th thru the 31st was a complete success in every way. Expectations were surpassed in numbers and cooperation between each law enforcement agency. Sharon Beth Kristal, the Fugitive Safe Surrender National Coordinator and Jeff Kretschmar, Ph. D. from Kent State University stated that it was one of the smoothest running sites to date.
  • November 08, 2009 - By early morning yesterday, it was clear the four-day "Fugitive Safe Surrender" in Newark was on track to be one of the biggest in the country. The large-scale law enforcement initiative, which offers nonviolent offenders with outstanding warrants a chance to safely surrender and, in most cases, avoid jail time, saw nearly 1,500 people turn up at Bethany Baptist Church in its first three days.
  • November 07, 2009 - Newark, NJ - Thousands of people lined up outside Bethany Baptist Church on the last day of a successful fugitive surrender program that has already processed some 3,000 people with warrants out for their arrest. People began lining up at 6 a.m. this morning. By midday, some 2,000 people were lined up along Warren Street outside the church. The line snaked along Hudson Street for a block before rejoining Warren Street for another block.
  • November 06, 2009 - Newark's surrender program offers fugitives clean start, conserves police resources. On Wednesday morning, thousands of fugitives walked into Bethany Baptist Church in Newark and surrendered to police. It was the first day of a four-day law enforcement effort that encourages fugitives with open warrants for nonviolent crimes to surrender, and most likely avoid jail time.
  • May 27, 2009 - U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge applauds and supports the efforts exercised by the law enforcement community and the faith-based community to continue the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program.
  • September 30, 2008 - Statement by the Hon. John Conyers, JR. of Michigan in the House of Representatives - Mr. CONYERS: Madam Speaker, I rise today to applaud the efforts of the United States Marshals Service for its pioneering program to encourage hundreds and thousands of individuals wanted for non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a faith-based or other neutral setting. The initiative was conceived and is administered by the Marshals Service in states that have particularly high numbers of fugitive warrants.
  • July 08, 2008 - Fugitives who turn themselves in at a Columbia church this week can talk to an attorney, see a judge and even get job counseling without having to spend time behind bars. The U.S. Marshal's Service is bringing its Fugitive Safe Surrender program to Bible Way Church of Atlas Road from Wednesday through Saturday. South Carolina is the 10th stop for the program, which has encouraged more than 13,000 people to turn themselves in since the program began in Cleveland in 2005.
  • June 27, 2008 - Thousands of people on the run from the law soon will get a chance to turn themselves in peacefully at a Richland County church. Bible Way Church of Atlas Road will transform into a satellite courthouse in a couple of weeks — becoming the 10th site of the federally-funded Fugitive Safe Surrender program in the nation, said Tim Stec, a deputy U.S. marshal based in Columbia. More than 100,000 people with outstanding warrants in Richland and Lexington counties can surrender between July 9 and 12, start resolving their cases and move on with their lives.
  • June 22, 2008 - Fugitive Safe Surrender program succeeds; Kent State study tells why - Casey Hennacy went to the House of the Lord Church in Akron last year looking for repentance. But the mercy she sought was from the law, not the Lord. The 20-year-old woman was five months pregnant and didn't want to give birth behind bars only to have the baby taken away. She was wanted on three felony drug and theft warrants.
  • June 11, 2008 - United States Marshal Robert M. Grubbs of the Eastern District of Michigan is proud to announce that Detroit’s Fugitive Safe Surrender (FSS) was a record breaking success. The four day operation, which ran from June 4-7, resulted in more than 7,000 individuals turning themselves in to law enforcement which was more than the previous eight FSSs combined.
  • May 14, 2008 - When police and deputies pound on front doors, only two or three inches of wood or metal separates them from some of society's most dangerous people. People high or drunk. People defending a criminal enterprise. People desperate to stay out of prison. Law officers will always have to serve warrants. If most departments did nothing but serve warrants, they still couldn't serve them all. But some departments across the country have created so-called safe surrender programs, which help reduce the strain on an overburdened justice system.
  • April 24, 2008 - Detroit will be the latest city in the country to host a federal program allowing those with an outstanding warrant for their arrest to turn themselves in. The Fugitive Safe Surrender program, created in 2005 by the U.S. Marshals Service to allow scofflaws to surrender in a non-hostile environment, is expected to clear up some of the backlog of thousands of outstanding warrants in Wayne County.
  • April 24, 2008 - Fugitive Safe Surrender (FSS), a groundbreaking re-entry initiative developed by the United States Marshals Service in cooperation with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the faith based community, is coming to Detroit June 4-7, 2008. The initiative will be hosted by Dr. Edgar Vann of Second Ebenezer Church.
  • April 24, 2008 - Fugitives in Wayne County wanted for non-violent crimes will be able to turn themselves in with a special program at Second Ebenezer Church June 4th through the 7th.  It's called Fugitive Safe Surrender. U.S. Marshal Bob Grubbs said it's not an amnesty program, but those who surrender will receive favorable consideration. "We will not present this program again in this region. Take this opportunity. Come down. Change your lives," he said.
  • April 20, 2008 - Life got less stressful this week for many of the 209 area residents who turned themselves in to the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, which wrapped up Saturday at the Bethel Christian Fellowship Church on East Avenue.
    The four-day program, a U.S. Marshals Service initiative, allowed people with outstanding arrest warrants to clear their records. Some saw a judge and had the whole case wrapped up in one day. Others got a court date for next week. Only four people were taken into custody, said Peter Lawrence, U.S. marshal for the Western district of New York.
  • April 16, 2008 - Those running from the law now have a chance to set the record straight. Today was the first day of a federal program called Fugitive Safe Surrender. "The program works, I like it.” Charles Clark came out dancing after getting his warrant taken care of. He said, “It's very easy, very easy and they said for most part they wouldn't incarcerate you, so here I am, living proof .” He was one of dozens of fugitives who turned themselves in to police today. The program is called Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • April 2008 - U.S. Marshal named one of Cleveland’s 50 Most Influential People of 2008 in April’s Cleveland Magazine - There are 50,000 fugitives at large in northern Ohio. And it’s U.S. marshal Pete Elliott’s job to catch them. To do so, he uses honey — otherwise known as Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • March 03, 2008 - You don't have to be a lawyer or a court official to be aware of the overcrowding of our legal system; this topic is frequently discussed on news programs and is often mentioned in newspaper and magazine articles. Court dockets everywhere are jam-packed, as are nearly all of the prisons in our country. But apart from building more jails and establishing additional courtrooms, what can be done? And, does the public really want to pay more taxes to pay for these new buildings and the salaries of the employees to staff them? Well, there is another solution-one that has been proven to help reduce the congestion in the court systems in some cities in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. It is called Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • February 28, 2008 -  St. Edwards Alumni Magazine, Winter 2008.  Peter Elliott's corner office on the 12th floor of the Carl B. Stokes Federal Court Building in downtown Cleveland overlooks the largest metropolitan area of the 40-county district that he is commissioned to protect. Elliott admits that he doesn't spend much time looking down at the Cuyahoga River, Tower City and Quicken Loans Arena that sit below. As U.S. Marshal for Ohio's Northern District, Elliott is too busy overseeing a staff of more than 330, who work daily to implement the innovative programs he has developed since being appointed to his position in 2003 by President George W. Bush.
  • January 18, 2008 - Kent State prevents violence through understanding as part of an event called Fugitive Safe Surrender (FSS), a unique initiative that encourages persons wanted for nonviolent felony or misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a faith-based, neutral setting. 
  • December 23, 2007 - For several weeks late last summer and on the eve of fall, Rev. Frank Ray allowed authorities to turn his church into a criminal justice center. At New Salem Missionary Baptist Church Sept. 19-22, 1,600 people were able to get a law enforcement monkey off their backs during Operation Safe Surrender.
  •  November 08, 2007 - The U.S. Marshals today announced the results of the latest Fugitive Safe Surrender initiative – this one taking place over three days in Washington, D.C. Fugitive Safe Surrender, a U.S. Marshals program, encourages persons wanted for non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes to surrender voluntarily to faith-based leaders and law enforcement in a church. From November 1-3, 530 persons took that opportunity and turned themselves in at the Bible Way Church in Northwest D.C.
  • September 23, 2007 - Over the last two years, thousands of fugitives in four states have lined up outside of churches, waiting for a chance to turn themselves in. The program is called Fugitive Safe Surrender. For four days, a local church is turned into a full-fledged court, complete with judges, public defenders, prosecutors and identification equipment such as fingerprinting.
  • August 04, 2007 - Nashville, Tennessee became the fifth city to invite fugitives to turn themselves in at church. At the end of the fourth day, 561 persons surrendered. The Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville hosted the surrender days. Pastor William R. Harris with strong support from the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship welcomed those who stepped across the threshold of the church-turned-courthouse.
  • July 14, 2007 - The 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.
  • July 14, 2007 - One man, facing forgery and theft warrants, both felonies, drove all the way from Florida. A woman, who had been avoiding several misdemeanors, drove in from Michigan.  Another woman drove 10 hours to Georgia, picked up her fiancé, who had been skirting a misdemeanor drug-possession warrant for seven years, and drove all night to reach Akron by Saturday morning. They were just a few of the 1,125 fugitives who turned themselves in to Summit County law enforcement authorities.
  • July 13, 2007 - A program that allows fugitives to surrender without fear or intimidation reached its fourth city this week and thousands have turned themselves in since its inception in 2005. A similar program in Tennessee is being planned for Memphis and Nashville. In the latest stop for U.S. Marshals Service's Fugitive Safe Surrender Program, hundreds of people wanted on various charges have come to The House of the Lord church since Wednesday (June 11, 2007).
  • July 12, 2007 - Mark Foster stopped running from the law on Wednesday. Foster took the first step toward a second chance on Wednesday when he showed up at The House of the Lord on Diagonal Road in Akron to turn himself in to law enforcement officials as part of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Safe Surrender Program.
  • July 11, 2007 - More than a hundred wanted fugitives have surrendered peacefully at an Akron church. In the greatest first day success ever for the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, 136 wanted men and women gave themselves up to ministers at an Akron church. "This tremendous first day success shows the idea works," said Peter J. Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, and originator of the Fugitive Safe Surrender concept.
  • July 11, 2007 - After running from the law for years, Robert Heim began walking, only this time he was heading towards police. "Ever since I can remember, when I've been in trouble I've ran from it," he said. "I'm ready to turn myself in." Two summers ago, Heim went to Florida on vacation and found himself in prison serving time for burglary. Heim was completing his two year sentence when his mother sent him a newspaper article advertising the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program in Akron.
  • July 10, 2007 - No tricks. Just truth and honesty. Coming as they do from the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, those words are meant to be
    reassuring to the ears of Summit County fugitives. Akron will host its first Fugitive Safe Surrender program this week from Wednesday through Saturday.
  • June 21, 2007 - Peter Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, was presented the TOP COP Award by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) at a ceremony in the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. recently. Elliott unexpectedly handed his award to Grace Leon, the widow of a slain Cleveland patrolman whose tragic death during a fugitive pursuit led to the creation of the “Fugitive Safe Surrender” concept.
  • May 03, 2007 - The United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio has been selected as a TOP COPS Award® winner by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), sponsor of the Fourteenth Annual TOP COPS Awards®.
  • April 27, 2007 - Thursday’s heavy rains in Indianapolis didn’t slow the growing number of men and women participating in the second day of the U.S. Marshals “Fugitive Safe Surrender.” Despite bad weather, 176 fugitives have surrendered to authorities over the past two days.
  • April 25, 2007 - More than 80 fugitives surrendered to Deputy U.S. Marshals during the opening day of the agency’s “Fugitive Safe Surrender” program in Indianapolis. The Marshals’ innovative program encourages persons wanted for non-violent crimes to turn themselves in at the Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis. However, one fugitive sought on two counts of attempted murder also surrendered today.
  • April 02, 2007 - U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott was exercising one day when a thought crossed his mind about the thousands of fugitives he's assigned to catch. What came to the Aurora resident between beads of sweat has earned him the Academy Award of law enforcement as one of the nation's top cops. It was Elliott's idea to create the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, which allows those wanted by police to surrender in the tranquility of a church.
  • March 29, 2007- Metro police should pursue a 'Safe Surrender' program - A proposal that would allow fugitives facing criminal warrants on nonviolent offenses to turn themselves in at a church is a perfectly reasonable approach. It's not only a good concept but has proved in other cities to be remarkably successful.
  • March 29, 2007 - Program protects against desperate acts - On August 30, 2006, Officer Jonathan Schroeder approached the front door of a house in Cleveland, Ohio, to serve an arrest warrant. The suspect opened fire.
  • March 28, 2007 - Peter J. Elliott, the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, has been named a “Top Cop” of the nation by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO). Marshal Elliott was selected for this prestigious award after being nominated by the Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and its President Terry Gallagher. The Top Cop Awards pay tribute to the men and women in law enforcement for their outstanding service to America’s communities.
  • March 18, 2007 - A new message that could be flowing this summer from behind some Nashville pulpits isn't centered on religion or making nice with one's neighbor. Instead, it will be a message from Metro police calling for people with criminal warrants to turn themselves in.
  • January 06, 2007 - The Rev. Jay Matthews let his Cleveland church be converted to a booking station and courtroom for fugitives to surrender for Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • November 21, 2006 - Phoenix, AZ – Last week, fugitives in Maricopa County had a brief, one-time opportunity to take their first step toward a second chance and took full advantage of it. Over 1,300 fugitives surrendered peacefully over four days at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix. Even after Sunday’s church services -- one day after the official end of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Safe Surrender program -- 40 additional fugitives showed up to surrender.
  • November 20, 2006 - Today, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones congratulated U.S. Marshal Peter J. Elliot and the entire United States Marshals Service on another positive step forward in implementing the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program.
  • November 15, 2006 - Sean White, wanted on criminal warrants for a probation violation and failure to appear in court, went to church Wednesday morning to get right with the law. The 32-year-old man was among the 120 suspects who turned themselves in during the first four hours of Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • November 13, 2006 - Federal and state authorities are asking an estimated 70,000 fugitives in Maricopa County to go to church this week so they can surrender to the law.
  • November 08, 2006 - The United States Marshals Service announced that fugitives in Maricopa County, Arizona have a one-time opportunity next week to take their first step toward a second chance. Under a new program, led by the U.S. Marshals Service, named Fugitive Safe Surrender, people on the run from the law can come to a safe haven and turn themselves in.
  • September 13, 2006 - U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales honored 14 Cleveland-area government officials and volunteers Tuesday for pioneering a program to encourage wanted criminals to turn themselves in. Gonzales bestowed the Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships for Public Safety on the organizers of Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • June 03, 2006 - This summer, felony fugitives can surrender to law enforcement officers, consult with a court appointed attorney and speak to a judge at a church in Akron.
  • May 23, 2006 - Today, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones introduced legislation, which formally authorizes, for next three fiscal years, a federal appropriation to fund the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program within the Justice Department. Senator Mike DeWine (OH) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
  • April 06, 2006 - U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) today introduced legislation that would expand a successful program aimed at encouraging non-violent fugitives with
    outstanding misdemeanor and felony warrants to surrender to courts that have
    been temporarily established in churches and community centers.
  • January 14, 2006 - If you are a fugitive in Maricopa County, the government wants you to go to church and surrender yourself. Not to Jesus but to law officers who will be on hand at a makeshift courtroom along with judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors.
  • November 01, 2005 - U.S. Marshal Peter J. Elliott recognizes the collaborative efforts of Cuyahoga County Administrator Tom Pokorney and Cuyahoga County Deputy Administrator Greg Popovich after completion of Fugitive Safe Surrender.
  • October 27, 2005 - More than 842 people in trouble with the law - 324 with outstanding felony warrants - voluntarily surrendered in an unprecedented coalition of faith-based, nonprofit, law enforcement and judicial authorities at Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • August 08, 2005 - Pete Elliott, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, is pleased to announce that Fugitive Safe Surrender was a tremendous success. More than 800 people in trouble with the law - 324 with outstanding felony warrants - voluntarily surrendered last week.
  • July 26, 2005 - United States Marshal Pete Elliott will join 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 Marshals launch of Fugitive Safe Surrender in Cuyahoga County.

Fugitive Safe Surrender


Fugitive Safe Surender Logo

To obtain additional information on the Fugitive Safe Surrender program in Washington, D.C., please call:

202-585-SAFE (7233)

Other Past Safe Surrender Initiatives:
 is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice