DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — After the Atlanta City Council approved the funding for the new Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility, neighbors who live near the construction site had mixed reactions to the news.
Some people supported the vote, others did not.
Neighbors Ida Davis and Franklin Latimore told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that they agree on just about everything, except for the location of the center.
“I’m for them building a better center for the police and firemen, but not here, not at this time,” Latimore said.
“I’ve been living here 34, 35 years and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of them on the TV talking about something they don’t know about,” Davis said. “I appreciate the police. I appreciate them over here doing their jobs.”
After more than 10 hours of public comment, the Atlanta City Council voted 11 to 4 in favor of the $67 million funding bill for the facility.
Some $31 million will go for direct funding, plus more than $1 million a year will be paid in a lease-back agreement with the Atlanta Police Foundation.
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Mayor Andre Dickens praised the approval, saying in a statement:
“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.”
Still, many in this community like Latimore and Davis remain divided.
“I’m for it if it’s somewhere else. Not in my neighborhood,” Latimore said.
“I’m sorry, I disagree,” Davis said.
Some neighbors in the community told Washington that they want more city and law enforcement leaders to actually go there and speak with them about the center, so they feel more included.
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