CLEVELAND — United States Marshal Pete Elliott and two Cleveland-area church leaders have created the Fugitive Safe Surrender Hotline to operate alongside an existing program that allows wanted fugitives to peacefully and voluntarily surrender.
In 2005, Pete Elliott, along with Bishop Joey Johnson, of the House of the Lord Church in Akron, and Reverend C.J. Mathews, of Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Cleveland, created the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program in Cleveland.
“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. I am grateful for the community partnerships that have made this program possible,” said Elliott.
When it first started, during the four-day period, 850 fugitives peacefully and voluntarily surrendered.
The success of the pilot program in Cleveland encouraged its implementation nationally where over 75,000 fugitives have peacefully and voluntarily surrendered.
“This program is the first step at a second chance,” said Mathews. “Literally thousands of fugitives have taken advantage of this opportunity to clear up their warrants and move on with their lives without having to worry about their past catching up with them.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to have large gatherings, the hotline was created to supplement the program and allow wanted fugitives to peacefully surrender. For those who qualify, job placement and community entry services have been built into this program.
“This is a proven program, a successful partnership between the faith community and law enforcement,” said Johnson. “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. I have seen it firsthand in my church where thousands surrendered during previously held FSS programs”.
Persons with outstanding warrants are encouraged to call the hotline 1-877-FSS-USMS 24/7.