ATLANTIC CITY - Hundreds of fugitives turned themselves into authorities for Fugitive Safe Surrender on Saturday, an event where people with nonviolent warrants were offered deals and favorable consideration for turning themselves in.
It was an experience...a positive one.
Barbie Ellerbee traveled to Atlantic City, all the way from Florida on Saturday to ensure that she could take part in the New Jersey Fugitive Safe Surrender program.
The program is a 4day event where individuals with nonviolent warrants hiding from the law can turn them selves in for the chance at receiving lesser punishment, and reduced fines.
I paid $50.00 today and I have to make a couple more payments but they reduced my fees, and that worked out very well, said Florida resident, Barbie Ellerbee.
Over 400 people waited to present their story in front of social services for favorable consideration from the judge. But according to authorities, that number is nothing compared to how many people in Atlantic County should be turning themselves in.
Right here in Atlantic County there are 78,000 traffic warrants and 40,000 municipal criminal warrants. Nonviolent warrants are those people that we are looking for. Said Atlantic County Sheriff, Frank Balles.
According to officials this is the last year for the Safe Surrender program. Because of that, they are asking anyone with a warrant to turn them in before Wednesday at 4:00PM or else they will no longer have the opportunity to receive a lesser sentence.
This is people's last chance for a second chance. Said Balles.
Basically I was 18...I made a couple of mistakes and I spent a lot of time paying for it. And I ran, but I had a chance today to rectify the situation. Said an anonymous fugitive.
Authorities want to assure that not everyone will walk away without going to jail, but over a 3 year span of Safe Surrender less than one half of 1% had to serve time.
It is a process...you wait to wait...but in the end it is worth It, Said Ellerbee.
The Fugitive Safe Surrender program will not operate on Saturday, but will resume on Monday. Anyone who has been issued a nonviolent warrant by New Jersey Law Enforcement can surrender voluntarily at the Grace Assembly of God Church at 201 Atlantic Avenue, in Atlantic City from 9:00AM 4:00PM Monday through Wednesday.