For a year, coastal Georgia communities have been preparing for potential tourists--and trouble--from the G-8 summit. But how far will the impact travel? Inland communities like Statesboro in Bulloch County aren't sure what to expect, but they're bracing just the same.
Being more than a hundred miles from the summit and with no international media there, they are nevertheless concerned. Besides some potential protest targets in the community, police say their problems could be delivered by fellow officers.
Statesboro police Capt. Mike Chappel checked riot gear in the trunk of his patrol car today. For now, it's standard equipment to officers in this quiet college town. "We started looking at the equipment as soon as we heard the G-8 was coming so we've tried to prepare for the G-8," he explained.
Police are braced for any trouble even though the summit is two hours away.
"Our folks know there is no vacation or leave during that time and everyone has to stay within 30 minutes of the station," said Maj. JR Holloway.
If Savannah and Brunswick's federal courts are crowded, Statesboro's will handle excess arraignments. That could bring their comrades here to protest. Officers must prepare for the possibility of problems in Statesboro and the probability of being called to help on the coast.
Both are enough to bring in canine reinforcements. The city had planned to add two more dogs in July, but found money to do it before the G-8. They say both the dogs and the gear will help them in case of any trouble and long after.
Statesboro police are not alone. Departments from as far away as Macon are on standby to expect problems there or the call to assist police in Savannah and Brunswick.