Fugitive Safe Surrender program offers comfort, security for those with outstanding warrants

AKRON, Ohio - There are 16,000 misdemeanor warrants in Akron, Barberton and Stow, and 6,000 felony warrants in Summit County.

That's 22,000 warrants that authorities need to track down — unless people with misdemeanor and low-level felony warrants help save them the trouble. 

This week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and authorities are conducting a Fugitive Safe Surrender Program in Summit County. On June 25 to 28, fugitives with low-level felony and misdemeanor warrants may surrender at The House of the Lord, 1650 Diagonal Road in Akron, without an appointment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

PREVIOUSLY: Associate Pastor Herman Matherson speaks about program

Several resources will be available at the church for those surrendering: a clerk of courts, public defenders to provide legal advice, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for license reinstatement, social service and community organizations for guidance and assistance and day care services.

Right after the program ends, local law enforcement will conduct a warrant sweep.

Anyone with questions can call the Fugitive Safe Surrender Hotline at 877-647-8773 or visit the Attorney General's website.

Fugitive Safe Surrender FAQs

1. Can I turn myself in at a Fugitive Safe Surrender site if my warrant is not from the county where FSS is currently taking place?

Fugitive Safe Surrender is for people with warrants from the county in which the program is being held. If you have a warrant from a county other than the one where Fugitive Safe Surrender is going on, you may still turn yourself in. However, the likelihood that you will be taken into custody will increase because there will be no one present from that county.

2. Will attorneys be available on-site to assist me with my case?

Yes. The local Public Defender’s office or representatives of the local Bar Association are participating partners in Fugitive Safe Surrender and will be on hand to answer your legal questions.

3. Will I go to jail if I turn myself in?

If you are surrendering under a non-violent felony or misdemeanor warrant the possibility of you going to jail is low. In most cases, 90 percent or more of those who surrender during FSS with non-violent felony or misdemeanor warrants have their cases heard and adjudicated and are released the same day.

However, each case is seen on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that you will not be arrested at Fugitive Safe Surrender.

4. I don’t have a driver’s license.  What IDs are acceptable?

Most forms of ID are acceptable to bring to FSS (social security card, state ID card, military ID, Medicare/Medicaid card, etc.). Even if you do not have any form of ID you may still turn yourself in at Fugitive Safe Surrender.

5. What are the hours FSS operates?

The typical hours of Fugitive Safe Surrender are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the four-day surrender period.  It is recommended that you try to show up as early as possible. This will lessen the chance of you having to wait a long time to have your case heard.

6. Is there child care available at the site?

Most sites provide child care during the surrender period. Anyone who is providing child care at the surrender site has undergone a background check and has state certification. 

7. Can I still surrender if I am wanted on a violent charge?

Anyone may surrender, even those with violent charges or a history of violence. It is important to keep in mind that if you are surrendering to a violent charge or have a history of violence in your past, you will typically be taken into custody.

8. Is Fugitive Safe Surrender an amnesty program?

Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program. People who surrender during Fugitive Safe Surrender must accept responsibility for the acts they have committed and face the consequences of those actions. They are able to do so in a setting that may be more comfortable for them. Individuals who surrender during Fugitive Safe Surrender are typically given “favorable consideration” by the judge and prosecutor for having peacefully and voluntarily surrendered.     

9. What religious requirements are necessary to surrender?

There are no religious requirements to surrender during Fugitive Safe Surrender. Fugitive Safe Surrender provides those with non-violent felony and misdemeanor warrants the opportunity to surrender in a more comfortable and neutral environment. If you do not feel comfortable surrendering at a church, an alternate, secular site is available.

10. What happens if I don’t turn myself in during the 4 surrender days?

Generally, if you do not take advantage of Fugitive Safe Surrender during the four-day period fugitive sweeps will be conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement in the county in which FSS was hosted.

11. Are there other services provided at FSS?

At

many Fugitive Safe Surrender sites various social services are provided, such as jobs, health care, drug and alcohol counseling, housing, etc. Also, at many locations the Ohio BMV is on hand to reinstate driver’s licenses that qualify for reinstatement.

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