A total of 1,548 people turned themselves in during the Fugitive Safe Surrender program coordinated by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Over the four-day period, 3,669 warrants were cleared in Summit County.
Prior to the event, there were approximately 16,000 misdemeanor warrants in Akron, Barberton and Stow, and 6,000 felony warrants in Summit County.
“We are pleased that so many people took advantage of this opportunity to surrender and do the right thing,” DeWine said.
The Fugitive Safe Surrender program allows individuals with outstanding warrants for misdemeanors and low-level felonies to settle them in a reassuring environment, which removes the safety threat posed to police officers, bystanders and those being arrested when enforcement takes them into custody during an arrest.
Local authorities will now conduct warrant sweeps around the county to arrest those whose warrants are still unresolved.
The program was introduced to Summit County in 2007 by the U.S. Marshals Service. In 2007, 1,125 people surrendered and in 2009 it increased to 1,350. Summit County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Galonski said this year’s goal was 1,500 surrenders.
The program was at the House of the Lord in Akron on June 25 through 28. Individuals were able to get their warrant resolved and were given favorable consideration for voluntarily turning themselves in.
“Some of these individuals have been running from their past warrant or warrants for years. Now that they’ve cleared up their past, they can focus on a better future,” DeWine said.
Those who surrendered were directed to the specific court that fit their needs. Galonski said the majority of misdemeanor offenses included traffic violations and license suspensions. Nonviolent felonies included probation violations and DUI cases.
Nearly 200 staff members and volunteers participated, including judges and law enforcement, along with representatives from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to reinstate licenses of any individuals who qualified. Social service providers were also available to provide guidance and day care services.