Attorney General’s Office to lead Fugitive Safe Surrender
Cleveland Police Officer Wayne Leon was conducting what appeared to be a routine traffic stop in June 2000 when the man he pulled over drew a weapon and shot him in the head. Leon died the next day. His killer, who remains on Ohio’s death row, testified that he shot Leon to avoid being arrested on an outstanding warrant.
The incident prompted U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott to create Fugitive Safe Surrender, which since 2005 has offered individuals with felony and misdemeanor warrants the opportunity to surrender peacefully and have their cases adjudicated, typically at a community church. Since its creation, the program has led some 34,000 fugitives to surrender in more than 20 cities nationwide.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine — after federal funding for the initiative was cut earlier this year — announced that his office will coordinate Fugitive Safe Surrender in Ohio and collaborate with local communities to organize events in their areas. He has hired a staff member, Jeff Oleksiak, to coordinate the program.
“Not only was there a large outpouring of support to see Fugitive Safe Surrender continue, but I heard from so many law enforcement officers, judges, mayors, clergymen, and community leaders telling me they wanted to see Fugitive Safe Surrender come to their communities,” DeWine said. “The program’s success has always resulted from these partners working together.”
DeWine’s announcement that Fugitive Safe Surrender would continue under his office’s oversight came during a crime safety summit in Youngstown in May. The Operation Redemption event, held at St. Dominic’s Church and hosted by Father Gregory Maturi, included the Attorney General, BCI Superintendent Tom Stickrath, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains, and several Youngstown officials, including Mayor Jay Williams, City Prosecutor Jay Macejko, and Police Chief Jimmy Hughes. A Fugitive Safe Surrender is planned for the Mahoning Valley area in spring 2012.
More information on Fugitive Safe Surrender is available from Oleksiak at Jeffrey.Oleksiak@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 216-787-3275.
Law Enforcement Roundtables conducted across the state
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is conducting a series of Law Enforcement Roundtables around the state to hear directly from local officials about their needs and suggestions.
In addition to the Attorney General, the roundtables feature representatives of BCI, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Section, and others involved in law enforcement issues.
Upcoming roundtables are scheduled for August in Southwest Ohio and Northeast Ohio. Events were held in Cambridge in March and Coalton in May. They will continue in all regions of the state. DeWine also is meeting informally with law enforcement representatives throughout the state.
Local officials who want more specifics on the Law Enforcement Roundtables should send an e-mail to Amber.Aimar@OhioAttorney General.gov or call 614-728-7275.
BCI announces Athens office
BCI will open an office in Athens to better serve Southeast Ohio law enforcement. The office is set to open later this summer or early this fall.
Located at 86 Columbus Road, the office will include a full-time polygraph operator and evidence collection services five days a week. It will be across the hall from the FBI office, which will provide for enhanced collaboration between the agencies.
Keeping hope alive
Raising awareness about Ohio’s nearly 800 missing children cases was the focus of two Attorney General’s Office events on May 25, National Missing Children’s Day.
Members of the Attorney General’s Missing Persons Unit took part in a phonathon at Columbus television station WBNS-10TV to answer questions about missing children. Two tips resulted.
Earlier in the day, staff members and children took part in a balloon launch at Columbus Preparatory Academy, releasing a balloon for each of Ohio’s missing children.
In another effort to bring greater visibility to missing persons cases, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that details about missing children and adults will appear on the envelopes of about 72,000 pieces of mail his office sends each month.