Hundreds Turn Themselves In At NJ Fugitive Safe Surrender [AUDIO]
From Florida to Georgia and throughout New Jersey, over 900 people have turned themselves in as part of the state's fourth and final "Fugitive Safe Surrender" in Atlantic City.Law enforcement authorities say the program gives non-violent offenders with arrest warrants the chance to have their cases resolved quickly, most often without jail time.
"There is absolutely no way we have the manpower and the resources to follow and track all of these individuals, so this is a huge help on the part of public safety" said Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel.
Broken down geographically, a majority of the individuals that surrendered came from Atlantic County.
Essex County, Hudson and Union and Camden counties round out the top five.
"At this pace we're doing better than last year and hoping for at least 2,500 by the final day' said State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.
Searching The State
"We go through a national database, the state database, motor vehicles. We don't want anyone leaving here and then finding out later that they're wanted for something else" said Chiesa.
"While they are waiting they can get health screenings, there are people here that help with substance abuse problems like drugs and alcohol, aids testing, there are over 30 resources here to offer assistance to people that come in and need it while they wait to appear before a judge" said State Parole Board Chairman James Plousis.
Favorable Consideration From The Courts
After processing, fugitives were able to speak with a volunteer attorney before heading in front of a judge. There were roughly 20 court rooms separated by green curtains in the Atlantic City Convention Center.
"Its not an amnesty program, but favorable consideration will be given by the courts" said Plousis,
"We had a guy that came in with 22 warrants from Florida and left with a minor fine" said Plousis. "These matters get taken care of in front of a municipal or family court judge and you walk out of here with your case resolved."
Chiesa noted that a few individuals have been arrested so far.
"For other offenses like sexual assault, those people were taken into custody...but that's only 3 or 4 out of more than 800."
Anyone wanted on non-violent New Jersey warrants can turn themselves in at the Grace Assembly of God Church, 201 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City from 9 am to 4 pm through Wednesday April 25th.
"We are encouraging those that that have non-violent outstanding New Jersey warrants to turn themselves in between now and Wednesday" said Chiesa.