'Fugitives' line up for help with outstanding warrants

People lined up for Jersey City Safe Surrender program

People lined up for Jersey City Safe Surrender program (11/6/13)

JERSEY CITY - Hundreds of people with outstanding warrants showed up in Jersey City Wednesday hoping to clear their records and make a fresh start.

New Jersey law enforcement authorities launched Fugitive Safe Surrender to allow nonviolent offenders with arrest warrants to have their cases resolved quickly, often without jail time. Officials say 700 people lined up around the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church for the start of the four-day event.

The program is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents wanted for nonviolent crimes or disorderly person offenses, including family matters and child support. It's not an amnesty program, but applicants are looking for leniency from a judge and to avoid jail time if they are arrested on one of those warrants. The state takes in thousands of dollars in fines.

Organizers say it will also keep officers safe. "Instead of guys running, this is an opportunity to make it safe for everybody," says Chairman Jim Plousis, of the New Jersey State Parole Board.

The event will take place through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Organizers expect to help more than 4,000 people with warrants.

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