Sea Island Police, Business Owners Prepare for G-8 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/31/04

Sea Island Police, Business Owners Prepare for G-8

With the G-8 summit just days away, the small police department on Sea Island is preparing for a very big job. A relatively quiet island is getting ready to play host to a top world event, and law enforcement agencies and residents are bracing themselves for what's to come.

"We have an area that's not metropolitan and backed up with traffic all the time," said Chief Matt Doering of the Glynn County Police Department.

For 21 years, Chief Doering has worked to keep the peace on some of Georgia's most visited coastal islands. But in a just a matter of days, quiet towns known for sprawling resorts will brace for a storm of security, media and protestors. "My biggest concern is about an act of terrorism that is hard to predict," he said.

Hard to predict and very unsettling for residents accustomed to dealing only with the changing of the tides. Shrimper Marcus McCall is so worried about possible terrorism, he's sending his family away and sailing his boat out of state waters. "I don't care how much security they have," he said. "They were supposed to have security on the World Trade Center."

The Army has already set up anti-aircraft weapons and a 20,000-strong security force is due to arrive any day now. Already, Brunswick police officers are on patrol and on the lookout for FBI suspects

Some shops will be closing down the week of the summit. "We just don't feel like there's going to be a lot of tourism," said bike shop owner Benjy Bluestein.

But most plan to hunker down, worried not so much about terrorism as about protestors, vandalism, and gridlock. All this in a place usually seen as a quiet refuge, but will soon be seen by the eyes of the entire world.

President Bush is expected to arrive in Savannah on Sunday, with the other leaders following on Tuesday. WTOC will be following all the action and bring you live coverage starting on Sunday. We also want to remind everyone the G-8 summit will be June 8-10.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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