MARTA Contributes Officers for G8 Summit

ATLANTA — Joining a collection of police agencies from across the state, 20 officers from the MARTA Police Department have been redeployed to serve at the G8 Summit on Sea Island.

“All of the local law enforcement agencies were asked to contribute if they could,” said MARTA Police Chief Gene Wilson. “However, the State Department of Homeland Security were particularly interested in team members who could fill special abilities such as our Special Operations Response Team.”

The MARTA officers will join roughly 20,000 law enforcement officers and National Guard troops from all over the state of Georgia guarding the G8 Summit. The meeting will be held on Sea Island in Savannah, Ga., from June 8 until June 10.

MARTA’s police force was recruited based on their experience, as well as security requirements for the summit, officials said. MARTA’s special unit provides a highly specialized/high risk tactical response to counter-terrorism, chemical-biological weapons and surveillance/stake-out capabilities.

MARTA sent some of their TSA-certified explosive detection canine teams and bus patrol officers based on their experience, Wilson said. “The equipment we use along with our chem-bio training gave MARTA officers a tactical edge,” he added.

All of the officers left for Sea Island June 4.

The G8 Summit brings together leaders of the world’s major industrial democracies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and this year, the Greater Middle East to discuss a wide range of international economic, political, social and security issues.

Comprised of 300 sworn officers, the MARTA police department was the first transit police agency in the U.S. and one of only 33 agencies in Georgia to be nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CALEA accreditation is based on extensive evaluation of the department including the areas of administration, organization, roles and responsibilities, cooperative relationships with other jurisdictions.