Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has released a statement on the approval of funding for the controversial “Cop City” project in Atlanta. The budget resolution for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center was passed today after months of passionate debate from both supporters and opponents of the project.
The training center, which is set to be built on the site of the former Atlanta prison farm, has been a source of contention in the city for months. Opponents of the project have expressed concerns about the potential militarization of police officers and the allocation of funds away from community-based solutions to public safety.
In his statement, Mayor Dickens addressed these concerns, stating that the training center would not only better prepare Atlanta’s first responders but help the city become a national model for police reform, with the most progressive training curriculum in the country. He also thanked citizens who had expressed their opinions on the project peacefully and applauded the Atlanta City Council for their commitment to the people of the city.
While the vote marks a major milestone for the city, with the approval of the budget resolution, the controversy surrounding the training center is unlikely to subside anytime soon. However, as Mayor Dickens noted, there is more work to be done and he is committed to building trust and developing a comprehensive approach to keeping Atlanta safe.
The statement is below in its entirety.
“This morning’s vote 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 our communities. It also helps us look towards the north star of leading the country in anti-bias training, de-escalation techniques and other community-based solutions to keep our city safe and focused on our citizens. Atlanta will be a national model for police reform with the most progressive training and curriculum in the country.
“We know there have been passionate feelings and opinions about the training center. Over the past several months, we have heard from citizens who have concerns about the center as well as from many who support it. I want to thank all who serve on a committee, task force or have weighed in on this issue, especially those who came to City Hall, for exercising your voice and your First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner. I also want to thank the Atlanta City Council for their commitment to the people of this city and for continuing to listen and engage with all our communities, and to city staff for their hard work and tireless dedication. 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.
“Our busy, international city requires well-trained public safety responders to serve our communities, businesses, and visitors. At the same time, the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center will allow us to recruit, retain and prepare our fire-rescue, police, and emergency medical personnel to better serve the diverse, vibrant, and unique neighborhoods that comprise our city. I know there is more work to be done and I am committed to building trust, and my administration looks forward to continuing the conversation in the weeks ahead.”