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National Association of Broadcasters

WKYC-TV Profiles ’Fugitive of the Week’

Topic: Safety Initiatives | VIDEO

Every Monday, during the 11 p.m. news, WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, profiles a "Fugitive of the Week" and points viewers to a call-in tip line. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott approached the station five years ago after a local police officer was killed in the line of duty. Elliott was creating a task force to track down the most violent fugitives and he needed the station to let viewers know how they could assist. Together, the task force and the station have helped arrest 15,000 fugitives. In addition to weekly newscasts, a section of the station Web site is dedicated to information about the fugitives, including photos and regular updates on arrests. The station and task force have expanded the campaign with "Fugitive Safe Surrender" and "Operation Second Chance," two programs aimed at helping clear the courts of minor warrants so law enforcement can concentrate on the more violent criminals. Neutral ground for people with outstanding warrants to turn themselves in has been established with several inner city churches, and the station runs stories and promotional spots to get the word out. The station also runs longer news stories about both fugitives and the task force itself. "The Marshals’ partnership with WKYC has been absolutely tremendous," said Elliott. "Countless fugitives including murderers, rapists and robbers are off the streets as a direct result of our teamwork together."

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