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Opening the door to second chances

U.S. marshal, pastors create Fugitive Safe Surrender hotline

CLEVELAND — U.S. Marshal for Northern Ohio Peter Elliott and two pastors have announced the creation of the Fugitive Safe Surrender Hotline.

The hotline number is 1-877-FSS-USMS.

In 2005, Elliott, along with the Rev. C.J. Mathews of Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Cleveland, created the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program in Cleveland.

During a four-day period, 850 fugitives peacefully and voluntarily surrendered at Mount Sinai Church. Because of the success in Cleveland, the program was implemented nationally. More than 75,000 fugitives have surrendered peacefully and voluntarily.

With the current COVID-19 concerns and the inability for large gatherings, the FSS Hotline has been created to supplement the 2005 program.

For wanted fugitives, the FSS Hotline will give them the opportunity to surrender peacefully and take their first step toward a second chance, Elliott said. For those who qualify, job placement and community re-entry services have been built into the program.

“This program offers a great opportunity to deal with past issues and move forward, as well as provides services that will help participants be successful in the long run,” Elliott said in a news release. “I am grateful for the community partnerships that have made this program possible.”

Another partner is Bishop Joey Johnson of the House of the Lord Church in Akron.

“This is a proven program, a successful partnership between the faith community and law enforcement,” Johnson said.

“The past success speaks for itself. This is a unique opportunity to deal with any outstanding warrants and take advantage of assistance to move forward,” he said. “I have seen it firsthand in my church where thousands surrendered during previously held FSS programs.”

People with outstanding warrants are encouraged to call the hotline 24/7 for more information.

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