On the final day of the first Juvenile Safe Surrender event in the nation, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is in Cleveland, visiting the Juvenile Justice Center in Cleveland.
Brown is encouraging individuals with outstanding juvenile court warrants for an offense committed when they were 17 years of age or younger to voluntarily surrender to law enforcement in a safe environment.
"Fugitive Safe Surrender is a national success story that started right here in Ohio, so it's fitting that the first Juvenile event in the nation is being held here," Brown said. "This program not only helps protect Ohio families, neighborhoods, and law enforcement officials, it offers a second chance and a fresh start. I'll continue working to ensure this important program remains preserved."
In the first two days of the event, which began on Monday, about 50 teens have turned themselves in – including two teenage girls who had been reported missing in Cleveland this year.
The Fugitive Safe Surrender (FSS) program – which reduces risk to law enforcement officers who pursue fugitives, to the neighborhoods in which they hide, and to the fugitives themselves – offers an opportunity for individuals who have warrants for non-violent offenses to have their cases adjudicated in a safe, non-violent manner. Participants will have access to free legal representation and community resources to ease the transition toward community re-entry.
Brown has been a long-time proponent of the FSS program – and recommended the reappointment of Cleveland-based U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott, who developed the program. The program was conceived following the shooting death of Cleveland Patrolman Wayne Leon, who was killed during a traffic stop with a wanted fugitive. After the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that federal funding for the FSS program was slashed in 2011, Brown sent a letter to the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Stacia Hylton, urging her to reinstate FSS. In the letter, Brown contended that FSS was an innovative and effective program that should be preserved and enhanced, rather than eliminated.
In Sept. 2010, Brown visited an FSS site at the historic Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood. During the four-day event, more than 7,400 people voluntarily surrendered—a record turnout for the program. Over the life of the program, nearly 35,000 individuals have voluntarily surrendered nationwide. In March 2009, Brown recommended the reappointment of Marshall Elliott—who was originally appointed in 2003—to President Obama.