Deputies Came for the G-8, They'll Return as Tourists - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/11/04

Deputies Came for the G-8, They'll Return as Tourists

With the G-8 summit behind them, thousands of law enforcement officers are now on their way home. Police and military personnel from all over the region helped secure the summit. WTOC spoke with several of them in Brunswick and the Golden Isles.

No one knew what to expect going into the G-8, but police we spoke with say the entire event turned out much better than they expected, and now they're leaving with a very favorable image of our community.

It was not exactly a vacation. Officers spent the last week securing checkpoints, the skies, the sea, the gates to the summit, and even the protests.

Deputy Sheriff Anthony Streetman from Columbia County helped process 14 protesters who were arrested outside Sea Island. "That was kind of different: seeing the guys chanting as they came off the bus, yelling loud, boisterous remarks," he told us.

Overall, Streetman and his colleagues from Columbia County say the G-8 went better than expected, and the people couldn't be nicer.

"We had a good time," said Investigator Jimmy Edmunds. "The local people treated us very well. They're all happy to see us and we're happy to be here."

Now that the summit's over, they'll enjoy a little rest and relaxation, as well as the area's restaurants and shops before it's time to head home.

Unlike the tourists who frequent the shops on Saint Simons and Sea Island, many of the law enforcement officers have been working 12-hour shifts and really haven't had a chance to enjoy all the area has to offer, but some are already making plans to come back.

"I was going to talk to my wife to figure out when she wants to come down because I'd really like to come back," said Deputy Sheriff Brian Jones.

"This is a beautiful place and I can't wait to come back when I'm not on duty," said Sgt. Jerry McGahee.

Glynn County is already seeing a surge of interest. "I do know our website has spiked, obviously the days of the summit, really high and the same thing from the Sea Island Company," said county tourism director William Tipton. "Long-term, this is what we hoped would happen, so we're all very, very pleased."

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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