First Federal Agents Arrive - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/01/04

First Federal Agents Arrive

Federal agents from around the country will be arriving to help out. Federal agents from around the country will be arriving to help out.

If you've noticed a significant increase in law enforcement around downtown Savannah, it's just the beginning of what's to come. The Secret Service won't say exactly how many federal agents will be in town, but we were told at least 20,000 extra law enforcement personnel will be here, and that's just in the downtown area.

Federal agents from all over the United States are coming by the dozen, armed with everything a law enforcement officer needs to keep the peace. K-9's included.

"Now that the holiday travels are done, you'll see more and more security folks and operation folks, foreign country press start to move in" said Barry Bennett, director of communications for summit planning.

The Secret Service, the agency implementing all the security for the G-8 summit, told WTOC that a lot of the federal agents we saw gathering at the Savannah Civic Center will be working with other state and local agencies in town, along with the National Guard and other military groups.

But what we won't know is exactly where they'll be. "We won't see a lot of people running around in riot gear, it will be very laid back," said Bennett. "The best security is invisible."

While we may not know the exact number of agents that will be in town, what we were told is that they'll not only be protecting all G-8 venues, but also the 3,000 members of the international press, about 1,000 additional delegates and everybody else that lives in the downtown area.

Their presence alone has already taken up more than a dozen hotels. "Seventeen hotels in the historic district, Hilton Head, Sea Island," said Bennett. "You name it, they're all over the place."

These federal agents will be arriving in Savannah and other areas of the Coastal Empire and Low Country throughout the rest of this week.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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