NEW BRUNSWICK – Approximately 1,400 individuals from across New Jersey have turned themselves in at Fugitive Safe Surrender as of noon today, the mid-point of the four-day event, officials said.
The total includes 936 who voluntarily surrendered on Wednesday, and exceeds the number seen during the equivalent time frame during last year’s Fugitive Safe Surrender event, held November 2009 in Newark.
New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow, State Parole Board Chairman James T. Plousis and the Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, lauded the event during a media conference this afternoon.
“The opportunity to surrender at a neutral location – this magnificent church – and receive favorable consideration from the court is helping so many people get back on track towards leading productive, law-abiding lives,” Dow said. “If you have an outstanding warrant, many doors will be closed, many opportunities will be missed, especially job opportunities to allow you to lead a productive life. I encourage any fugitive out there, who is debating whether or not to take action, to do it. This may be the last time this program is offered in New Jersey.”
“Fugitive Safe Surrender was created, first and foremost, to prevent the risk of harm, both for law enforcement officers and for individuals who are wanted even for minor offenses such as unpaid municipal fines,” Plousis said. “The 1,400 people who have turned themselves in so far represent a tremendous success for public safety, and for the lives of those who will no longer have to live in hiding.”
“First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens chose to participate in this program because its emphasis is on upholding the rule of law, and encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions,” Soaries said. “Rather than being given amnesty, they are held accountable and required to make some amends to society for what they have done. Sometimes good people commit bad actions. For those people, this is a limited opportunity to come forward and make things right.”
It has been estimated that each person who voluntarily surrenders on a non-violent municipal offense such as unpaid parking fees represents a savings of approximately $420. This includes the cost of the average two-and-a-half-day jail stay for arrests on municipal charges, and the police man-hours involved in arresting, transporting and processing the wanted individual.
“Fugitive Safe Surrender-Central Jersey” began Wednesday, Nov. 3 and will continue through Saturday, Nov. 6, at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, 771 Somerset Street in Somerset. Individuals wanted on warrants issued by any New Jersey state, county or municipal law enforcement agency may voluntarily surrender at the church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days.
Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program, but individuals wanted for non-violent offenses will be given favorable consideration for their decision to voluntarily and peacefully surrender, face the court and take responsibility for their offenses. Individuals wanted for violent crimes may also surrender, but they are very likely to be taken into custody.
Members of the public may call 1-732-828-2009 or visit www.FSSNJ.com for more information.
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