DC Safe Surrender 2011 – An Interview with Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander

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[Audio Begins]

Cedric Hendricks:  Hello, this is Cedric Hendricks and welcome to DC Public Safety.  Today we’ll be speaking with Mr. Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice about DC Safe Surrender.  Welcome Mr. Quander.

Paul Quander:  Hello, how are you?

Cedric Hendricks:  Could you tell us what is DC Safe Surrender?

Paul Quander:  DC Safe Surrender is an opportunity where all of the law enforcement partners, local, federal, judicial, legislative, have come together to provide an opportunity for men and women who have misdemeanor warrants and low level warrants, to provide them with an opportunity to turn themselves in to reconnect with their community and their lives.  It’s an opportunity for people to come get correct so that they can move on with their lives.  It’s an opportunity so that they can come, so that we can get a lot of these old outstanding warrants resolved so that individuals can move on, so they can get jobs, so they can continue their career.  So it’s an opportunity to move forward.

Cedric Hendricks:  Now what is a public safety benefit for the individual and this community by allowing an opportunity for people to come in and self-surrender?

Paul Quander:  There is a significant overall public safety benefit.  The more people that come in voluntarily, the less law enforcement resources need to be expended to look for, to search for individuals.  The other thing is that it helps us to continue to connect with the community.  We want to be in the business of preventing crimes.  We want to be in the business of trying to reestablish our communities and making sure that they’re safe places to live.  A lot of the people that we’re targeting have turned their lives around.  They are no longer involved in any type of criminal conduct.  So they have gone the right path.  So now it’s time for them just to come on in, let us take care of these outstanding issues, let’s make it right and then let’s move forward.  So there’s a significant public safety implication here.

Cedric Hendricks:  Now DC Safe Surrender was first done back in 2007 and you were instrumental in making that happen here.  What were some of the achievements of that Safe Surrender and how are those inspiring you all to want to do this again?

Paul Quander:  Well, you know we often talk about working together as a government.  That was one of the most significant endeavors whereby every part of the criminal justice system, every component, was involved in fugitive safe surrender.  And it wasn’t just the criminaljustice agencies, but it was the community at large.  We had a religious partner, Bible Way Church and all the members of Bible Way that accepted this initiative.  They took it on as one of their projects for giving back to their community.  So it brought the criminal justice partners, it brought the religious community; it brought the community at large together and was located in a church and in a safe environment just as the environment of Superior Court will be for this event.  And it allowed us to reconnect with our community.  There are in excess of 500 men and women who came in and got their lives turned around.  When you think about 500, more than 500 individuals, that’s a significant number and some of them had outstanding warrants from the 60’s.  And that’s a long time to have something hanging over your head.  And a lot of these matters were resolved right then, right there.  So it was a resounding success.  It’s a great example of community partnering and community resolve to help everyone.  So that’s why we wanted to do it again.  We wanted to offer it so that anyone that is out there that has this type of low level misdemeanor, non-violent offense, can turn themselves in in a safe environment and will receive favorable consideration to get the matter resolved.

Cedric Hendricks:  Now why should people get favorable consideration?  That certainly is a hallmark of Safe Surrender.  Why is that something you can get through this door and not otherwise?

Paul Quander:  The main reason is because of their own volition, their own will, the fact that they have decided themselves that they want to come in and have these matters addressed.  It’s quid pro quo.  They get something, law enforcement and public safety receives something.  And the community wins as a whole.  So if they can come in, get these matters resolved, then it’s law resources that need to be expended from the police, from the prosecutors, from probation and parole, right on down the line.  So the earlier we can get matters resolved, the better it is for everyone that is concerned.

Cedric Hendricks:  And finally, when will DC Safe Surrender be taking place?   August 13th,

Paul Quander:  I know there are three successive

Cedric Hendricks:  20th and 27th.

Paul Quander:  Right, there are three successive Saturdays that we want to open this up at Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue.  And we’re asking men and women to come in.  And we’re also asking for family members to come in and to support them.  This is an event for the community so if you have a grandson, if you have a nephew, if you have a niece, if you have a daughter, and they have an outstanding warrant, come down with them.  It’s open to the public.  It’s open for family members.  And we want to get as many people to come in and to participate with us in August so that we can have a safe summer and so that beginning with the new school year, people will be free of anything that’s heading over their heads.

Cedric Hendricks:  We’ve been talking with Mr. Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.  He’s been briefing us on DC Safe Surrender.  Thank you very much Mr. Quander.

Paul Quander:  Thank you for the opportunity.

[Audio Ends]

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