- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Non-violent fugitives in Middle Tennessee are being given the chance to attend church, confess and repent in a special safe surrender event in which they could see a judge and return home on the same day.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1Ka8Bs7) reports the Nashville justice system and community leaders have worked together to offer a Fugitive Safe Surrender event on Sept. 18-19 at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

Police say fugitives who attend and accept responsibility for their actions will receive “favorable consideration for surrendering.” They will have the opportunity to meet with an attorney and appear before a judge, who could allow them to go home.

Police said in a statement Thursday that there are no religious requirements.

“It is very important that Nashville’s citizens understand that this is a genuine special one-time opportunity for wanted persons to stop looking over their shoulders and clear up outstanding arrest warrants,” Chief Steve Anderson said in the statement. “This is not a gimmick or a trick.”

Several weeks of planning have gone into the event that will turn the church into a courtroom complete with attorneys, clerks, a judge and 100 community volunteers.

Fugitives will be processed by the Sheriff’s Mobile Booking Unit before appearing in the makeshift courtroom.

“I am proud to be able to extend a welcoming hand to persons coming to this church on September 18th and 19th who want to make life better for themselves and their families,” said Rev. William Harris of Galilee Church.

The event is similar to the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, which was run by the U.S. Marshal’s service from 2005-2011.


Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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