“People have said we need to abolish the police and defund the police, well I don’t know how you do that unless somebody is going to abolish crime,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said yesterday at a press conference. She was announcing her support for a new police and fire training facility which opponents have dubbed “cop city.”
Mayor Bottoms then made it personal. “I know that when my house has been broken into, not once but twice, it’s the police I called,” she said. She continued, “When our family experienced a tragedy, [it was] these men and women who solved the case. When my son had a seizure, it was Atlanta Fire Rescue that showed up. When my son had an asthma attack, the paramedics, Atlanta Fire Rescue showed up.
“So this notion that we…somehow can exist in society without public safety is simply ludicrous.”
The training facility plan would take up 85-acres of a larger parcel of land the city already owns. The Atlanta Police Foundation put out this visualization of what the new campus would look like back in 2019:
11 Alive has more on the Mayor’s support for the facility and the opposition to it:
“What I’ve said repeatedly over the last year is that holding the men and women who serve us in a public safety capacity accountable is not mutually exclusive from supporting them,” Bottoms said. “And if you have ever had the opportunity to visit either the police academy or the Atlanta Fire Rescue training facility, they are simply deplorable. In fact it’s my understanding that the Atlanta Fire Rescue training facility was condemned last year, that’s how bad it is. The Atlanta Police Department (facility) – there are no lockers for the cadets, the roof is leaking, it has mold, the list goes on and on.”…
The proposed $90 million facility was a priority of the law enforcement community, which argued it would help the city recruit and retain officers after the force saw departures and low morale following the protest movements last year calling for policing reforms.
It faced robust opposition from a coalition of Atlanta community activists, environmentalists and urbanists, who wanted to preserve the old Prison Farm site as a public greenspace and objected to using public land for the facility in a predominantly Black section of southeast Atlanta rather than in wealthier, whiter sections of the city, such as Buckhead.
They had derisively termed the project, “Cop City.”
Having been approved by the City Council on a 10-4 vote, the construction will now move forward. The finished center is expected to open sometime in 2023. The total cost is expected to be about $90 million, with $60 million coming from private donations and the rest coming from the city.
The approval of this facility may be the clearest indication yet that far left activists demanding cities “defund the police” no longer have much sway.