YOUNGSTOWN - People wanted by the law in Mahoning County will have the chance to turn themselves in.
The Fugitive Safe Surrender program will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue. The program, run by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, allows people with outstanding warrants of a nonviolent nature, either felony or misdemeanors, to turn themselves in.
This is the fourth surrender event being held in the state this year, and Mahoning is the largest county it has taken place in, said Dan Tuerney, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.
Tuerney said it is estimated that Mahoning County has more than 15,000 outstanding nonviolent misdemeanor warrants.
In July, 111 people turned themselves in during the Warren event, and 24 people surrendered in Columbiana County.
Richland County in north central Ohio is holding a surrender event as well.
Tuerney said the program was run in 2011 by the U.S. Marshals service, and state Attorney General Mike DeWine liked it enough to want to continue it on the state level.
Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich said he has been coordinating with the attorney general's office for the last five or six months to work out the logistics of the event.
Milich said the most common warrant is a failure to appear warrant for people who do not show up in court for their initial appearance.
Those affect the court's operations because it means double appearances for some defendants as well as more paperwork, Milich said.
''Hopefully, this will clear up some of our backlog,'' Milich said.
Mahoning County courts also are taking part in the event, Tuerney said.
The event is often held at a church with the idea that people would feel more comfortable there than in a courtroom setting. For the most part, people who turn themselves in can often clear their cases immediately.