Funds approved for Atlanta Public Safety Training Center after hours of public comments

The Atlanta City Council on June 6 approved millions of dollars in funding for a police training center – a project that has sparked controversy and gained national attention.

The 11-4 vote in favor of transferring $31 million to the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) for construction of the facility and the addition of a gym came after approximately 12 hours of public comments that included hundreds of people speaking out against the project.

A large crowd of those opposed to the project showed up at the Atlanta City Hall meeting which started at 1 p.m. on June 5 and continued into the early morning hours of June 6. The final vote happened at approximately 5:30 a.m. on June 6.

According to WABE, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate for the metro-Atlanta area, city council members also decided to allow Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to enter into a lease-back agreement with the APF for the center.

“That’s another $36 million over the next 30 years — though the city says it would be saving money by not having to rent a different facility,” stated WABE officials.

In a statement posted to the city of Atlanta’s website after the vote, Dickens said “approving the budget resolution for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center marks a major milestone for better preparing our fire, police and emergency responders to protect and serve communities.”

“Atlanta will be a national model for police reform with the most progressive training and curriculum in the country,” Dickens continued. “We know there have been passionate feelings and opinions about the training center. Atlanta is made up of people who care, and I will continue to work with all Atlantans to develop a comprehensive approach to keep our city safe. Atlanta is made up of people who care, and I will continue to work with all Atlantans to develop a comprehensive approach to keep our city safe.”

The training center, which will be located in the South River Forest area of DeKalb County on 85 acres of land owned by the city of Atlanta, will include a shooting range, burn building, and a “mock village” with a convenience store, hotel, nightclub, houses and apartments, according to the Atlanta Police Foundation website.

In total, the project is expected to cost about $90 million, according to city of Atlanta website.

For more information, visit www.atlantaga.gov.

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