A total of 1,548 people with outstanding arrest warrants turned themselves in during the four-day Fugitive Safe Surrender program, which ended Saturday at the House of the Lord in West Akron.

Saturday saw the most surrenders, with 676, said Robert Davis, who coordinates the program for the Ohio Attorney Generalís Office.

The program gave fugitives a chance to surrender in what they consider the safe environment of a church, Davis said. He said people who distrust the criminal justice system often are willing to surrender at a church because they believe theyíll be treated appropriately there.

While the program did not promise leniency, it did allow the people to have their cases expedited. And in some cases, judges might look more favorably on defendants because they turned themselves in, Davis said.

ďItís certainly not a free ride. Itís not a write-off,Ē he said. Instead, itís an opportunity for people to accept responsibility for their actions.

More importantly, he said, it reduces the chances of conflict when police try to arrest people on outstanding warrants.

Most of the cases involved traffic violations, child support cases and other nonviolent crimes, organizers said.

Davis said one woman who surrendered had 12 open traffic cases.

He said about 125 volunteers from House of the Lord and affiliated churches, Brown Mackie College and the Attorney Generalís Office helped make the event a success.