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Citing cost concerns, U.S. Marshals to cease Project Safe Surrender for fugitives

The U.S. Marshals have ended a program credited with rounding up 34,000 fugitives in the past five years because the program is not affordable.

The Associated Press reports that Project Safe Surrender was started in Ohio in 2005 after a law enforcement officer was shot in the head during a traffic stop. The fugitive who shot the officer was wanted for a parole violation. The project partnered law enforcement with the U.S. Marshals program and local churches to provide a safe, non-confrontational place for fugitives to surrender. The AP reports the Marshals say the program costs $250,000 per year to run.

Officials who have studied the program say it has been beneficial.

“It’s extremely beneficial. People have continued to show up to put their lives back together, to live without looking over their shoulders,” said Daniel Flannery, the former director of the Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence at Kent State University and author of a coming book on the program.

The program set a new record in September when a Cleveland operation netted 7,400 surrenders in four days. That topped a 2008 record set in Detroit where 6,600 fugitives surrendered. Safe Surrender has run operations in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., the AP reports.

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