South Georgia officers gear up for G-8 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia officers gear up for G-8

June 1, 2004

Pelham, Ga. -- The world will be on the Georgia coast next week. The G-8 Summit will bring in leaders of different nationalities, mixed with protesters and demonstrators of all kinds.

The high profile event will need 20,000 officers to secure the Brunswick, St. Simons Island, Sea Island area, and officers from South Georgia are gearing up to assist.

Gas masks are new, but dusty. "They are actually a few years old, but they've been in storage," said Pelham Police Chief Nealie McCormick. "We'll leave with our gear on Friday."

They will leave with riot gear in hand and head east for the G-8 Conference, crowded with international dignitaries and protesters.

Pelham Police Officers volunteered to go, to help secure coastal Georgia. "We're going to be going over there as a team and come back as a team, and I'm sure when it's all said and done everything will be fine," says Chief Investigator John Sellars.

A team effort that probably won't go without terror alerts and anxiety back home. "Sure, I'm nervous, my wife is nervous," said Sellars. "We've got some of the best people in the state of Georgia who are going to be over there, and some very highly trained individuals."

The G-8 Summit training was free, and not knowing what the future holds, small towns, like Pelham, are ready for anything. "We'll get exposure to training and experiences you wouldn't normally get in a small town police department," said McCormick.

And these small town officers will be GBI agents for a week. "It will be something to tell the grand kids about I'm sure," Sellars said. The G-8 training graduates were sworn in last week, and they say they're ready to take on the unknown.

The Pelham Police Department will bring in reserve officers to keep streets safe on the home front.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected along with five-thousand international delegates and journalists.

posted at 5:05PM by dave.miller@walb.com