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NJ Fugitives Get Last Chance to Surrender [VIDEO]

During the third week of April, certain individuals who are hiding from the law can turn themselves in at a neutral location in Atlantic City.

Fugitive Safe Surrender-Southern New Jersey Region will be the fourth and final event of its kind in the state.

Grace Assembly of God Church, Atlantic City
Thousands of fugitives are expected to turn themselves in at Grace Assembly of God Church in Atlantic City. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media)

The surrender site will be Grace Assembly of God Church. The program is open to individuals wanted on warrants by New Jersey law enforcement officials for non-violent crimes or disorderly persons offenses, including family matters and child support.

Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program. However, those who participate will receive favorable consideration from the court, typically in the form of probation or reduced fines.

“We’re not only helping those who are taking responsibility, but we’re reducing the risk to law enforcement by lowering the chances that a traffic stop or simple arrest will result in violence by someone wanted on an outstanding matter,” says New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.

Chiesa says the program also benefits the courts by taking cases off their dockets, as well as municipalities that are waiting on numerous fine payments.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel says, “If you’re somebody this program is designed for, I can tell you it is the chance of a lifetime.”

He says the program does not serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card, but “it’s pretty darn close to one.”

A total of more than 10,000 fugitives surrendered during the first three New Jersey Safe Surrender events: Camden in 2008 (2,245 fugitives surrendered), Newark in 2009 (4,103 fugitives surrendered) and New Brunswick in 2010 (3,901 fugitives surrendered).

The “surrender operation” at the church will run Saturday, April 21, as well as Monday, April 23 through Wednesday, April 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

The program cannot process out-of-state court matters. Individuals wanted for violent crimes may also surrender, but they are more likely to be taken into custody.

An estimated 2,500 fugitives are expected to turn themselves in during the four-day event.

Officials say they chose Atlantic City as the host to the southern operation because it is easily accessible through public transportation.

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