DELAWARE COURTS PARTICIPATE IN FUGITIVE SAFE SURRENDER PROJECT
Coming from as far away as San Francisco and Houston, as well as Delaware and surrounding states, over 1,000 individuals surrendered, and over $14,000 in fines and fees were collected in Wilmington April 29-May 2, 2009, as part of the Fugitive Safe Surrender Project. The operation, which was held in the New Destiny Fellowship Church in downtown Wilmington, was the 13th location nationwide to hold a Safe Surrender Project. Designed to help resolve outstanding arrest warrants, focusing on those with non-violent felonies and misdemeanors, participants were able to meet with an attorney, see a judge, and have their cases adjudicated on-site. The program did not provide amnesty, but participants were offered favorable consideration for their willingness to surrender and only six individuals were incarcerated following their surrender. The goal of the program was twofold: to reduce the risk to law enforcement officers who pursue fugitives to the neighborhoods in which they hide (which is one of the most dangerous duties facing police agencies) and to help individuals with outstanding warrants to resolve their fugitive status and regain their role in the mainstream of their community.
A cooperative venture led by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Delaware courts (Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Common Pleas, and Justice of the Peace Court), along with the Administrative Office of the Courts, played a crucial role in resolving outstanding warrants, collecting fines and fees, and providing necessary technology. Other participants included police agencies, the Delaware Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys Office, and a variety of other Delaware State agencies. Funding was provided through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Capacity Development Office.