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N.J. fugitive surrender program nears record

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Totals aren’t official yet, but state officials may have broken last year’s record of 4,100 fugitive surrenders in a four-day open house, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

The numbers include
15 felons who were immediately arrested for violent offenses, authorities said.

Last year, New Jersey’s Safe Surrender program produced 4,100 fugitives out of a Newark location. This year, it operated out of a Somerset County church — but still attracted people wanted on outstanding warrants from throughout the state.

“We won’t have a final count until Monday monring, but we had about 4,000 total [through early Saturday], representing an average of 3 warrants per person,” Neal Buccino, a spokesman for the state Parole Board told CLIFFVIEW PILOT on Saturday.

“All in all, a real success,” he said.

The total includes 936 who voluntarily surrendered Wednesday, smashing last year’s one-day high.

“The opportunity to surrender at a neutral location – this magnificent church – and receive favorable consideration from the court, is helping so many people get back on track towards leading productive, law-abiding lives,” New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.

One of the program’s benefits is that it reduces the potential for harm to both law enforcement and to someone “wanted wanted even for minor offenses such as unpaid municipal fines,” said State Parole Board Chairman James T. Plousis, a former U.S. Marshal who knows a thing or two about tracking and capturing those who’ve fled justice.

Those who have come in so far “represent a tremendous success for public safety, and for the lives of those who will no longer have to live in hiding,” he said earlier this week.


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