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Fugitive Safe Surrender Detroit Breaks National Record

More than 7,000 surrender peacefully over four days

DETROIT — Detroit leads the nation in the record breaking turnout of fugitives for the four day Fugitive Safe Surrender (FSS) program, 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. "This proves the good will of so many people in Detroit who seek a second chance and want to make their lives whole," said Dr. Edgar L. Vann, Senior Pastor of Second Ebenezer Church and host of the program. With 7,000 people surrendering during the program for both misdemeanor and felony offenses, the FSS Detroit program tops the cumulative total of all other cities that have implemented the program to date, including Washington D.C., Memphis, Nashville, Cleveland, Akron, Rochester, N.Y., Phoenix and Indianapolis, where a total of just over 6,700 people surrendered. In addition, Detroit had nearly five times the turnout of the highest single city's total over four days. In September 2007, Memphis had the highest turnout prior to Detroit with 1,581 fugitives surrendering.

"We are dealing with an unprecedented turnout and un-chartered waters," said U.S. Marshal Robert M. Grubbs, "and we have a process in place to accommodate the 2,100 fugitives who received vouchers for the 36th District Court. Those who did receive vouchers have until July 7, 2008 to present the voucher to the U.S. Marshal station adjacent to the 36th District Court in order to have the voucher honored and make arrangements to receive the favorable consideration for those existing warrants they held prior to the actual program June 4-7, 2008. We are also cognizant of others who attempted to attend the program after the gate was closed each day, and this will prompt all participating agencies that more needs to be done," he said. Grubbs credited Pastor Vann, with his long-standing reputation for community outreach and support, a very strategic, proactive public awareness campaign, numerous volunteers and a true collaborative effort of law enforcement and the judiciary for the Detroit program's resounding success. All involved worked round the clock each day to help those fugitives who wanted to help themselves.

The program targeted fugitives with outstanding warrants for non-violent offenses and the campaign reminded people that a fugitive sweep would take place after the program. One offender turned himself in during the first day for first-degree murder because he was tired of running and did not want to get caught in the fugitive sweep. In addition to his arrest, only two other fugitives were arrested during the program. While there were 10,534 misdemeanor warrants resolved there were also 966 felony warrants resolved. Participants had warrants for traffic misdemeanors, Friend of Court bench warrants, drug possession, auto theft and other crimes. "It was like giving people a new lease on life. It helped, not only to bring forward many of the persons with the more than 17,000 outstanding misdemeanor warrants and 29,000 felony warrants that exist in our jurisdiction, but it immediately improved their quality of life," said Wayne County Sheriff Warren C. Evans. Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings added, "What happened at Second Ebenezer Church exemplifies the power of how the church working with law enforcement and the community can create a real movement. We need to continue this momentum and implement more programs like this as methods to reduce crime," she said.

The U.S. Marshal's Service organized the Detroit program with the support of the United States Attorney's Office and the Project Safe Neighborhoods program; Michigan Department of Corrections; Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative; State Defender's Office; Michigan State Police; Wayne County Sheriff's Office; Wayne County Prosecutor's Office; Wayne County Clerk; Third Circuit Court; 36th District Court; Detroit Police Department and HIDTA.

Source: Fugitive Safe Surrender Detroit

Peggy Goodwin, FSS Public Awareness Chairperson, +1-313-715-0199, +1-248-376-0390, peggygoodwin@goodwinconsulting.us  

Web site: http://www.detroitsafesurrender.org/

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