$25 Million for Police on the Way; Chambliss, in Brunswick, Says State Should Get Money for Summit Law Enforcement "In a Matter of Days."

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, The Times-Union

BRUNSWICK -- U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., told local officials a $25 million federal check is in the mail to pay for state law enforcement needs at the G-8 Summit.

The money will be sent to the State Department of Homeland Security, which will send it to local law enforcement agencies that will provide security for the June 8-10 event on Sea Island and in Savannah, Chambliss said.

"That money should be available to the state in a matter of days,'' and agencies should be able to begin drawing on the funds quickly, he said.

Officials face a tough job preparing for G-8, but visitors will leave with a good feeling about Southeast Georgia, Chambliss said.

"We're going to walk away with . . . a lot of their money in our pockets,'' and a lot of assets left behind, he said.

The issue of funding has been worrisome to some local officials concerned about amassing overtime as they train officers and emergency workers for G-8.

As police officers and federal agents fill hotel rooms that would have been filled with summer tourists, the Brunswick-Golden Isles Tourism and Visitors Bureau will lose revenue, said Bill Tipton, who directs the office. Because government agencies are exempt from bed taxes, the visitors bureau will lose about $200,000, Tipton has estimated.

Chambliss could provide no answer on replacing those losses, but urged Tipton to call the Governor's Office, which will be in charge of disbursing the funds.

Glynn County Administrator Charles Stewart said the county is incurring costs now and has submitted a request to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for funding.

Among the costs thus far are sending officers to Miami earlier this year to observe security techniques used at an international conference and to the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council academy in Forsyth for additional training, Stewart said Thursday afternoon.

"We appreciate the training, but there is a cost,'' he said.

Thus far, the Brunswick and Glynn County police departments have not built up much overtime as their officers underwent more than 3,000 hours of training combined.

"On planning, training and preparation, we're probably over 1,200 hours or more,'' said Major Larry Bruce of the Brunswick Police Department.

Glynn County officers have undergone more than 2,000 hours of training, Police Chief Matt Doering said. …

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