Atlanta Public Safety Training Center protesters will rally in L5P

Political and environmental activists have been protesting the city of Atlanta’s $90 million public safety training center for more than a year. The facility is expected to be built on 85 acres of wooded land near the South River. (Stop Cops City)

Activists plan to rally at Little Five Points on October 14 to protest the city of Atlanta public safety training center to be built on dozens of acres of city-owned forest land near the South River in DeKalb County.

The family rally organized by the “Stop the City of the Cops” the movement begins at 4:30 p.m. at Findley Plaza. It is one of many “Weekend of action” planned events with another group known as “Defend the Atlanta Forest.”

A list of activities planned for the weekend of action to protest Atlanta’s new public training facility.

Grassroots groups have staged numerous, mostly peaceful, protests against the public training center, which they call “Cop City”, after the city council approved the project last year. Protesters are calling the hundreds of acres near the South River the Weelaunee Forest, what they say the area was called when it was home to the Muscogee Native American nation. The land was also where the Old Atlanta Jail was located.

Some protesters vandalized to try to stop the construction of the public training center. In May, Atlanta police arrested several protesters they believed had entered the site.

In July, Defend Atlanta Forest activists chained themselves to the Charlotte, North Carolina office of Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor chosen to build the training center. APD officials said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are assisting in their investigations into the incidents at the property.

There are plans to build the public training center on 85 acres of city-owned land on more than 300 acres of mostly forested land off Key Road in DeKalb County. Funding to build the $90 million facility is being raised from numerous local corporations by the non-profit organization Atlanta Police Foundation, who will lease the land to the city. Taxpayers are expected to shell out more than $30 million for the new training center.

The Atlanta Police Foundation says the new facility is needed, in part, to improve morale and recruitment after dozens of police left the force after the 2020 George Floyd protests.

A recent site plan for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Campus. (Atlanta Police Foundation)

The training center itself will have a model of a city, a firefighting “exercise tower”, an emergency vehicle operations course (EVOC), a classroom, a field of shooting range, space for disposal of prescriptions and space for a helicopter to land in case of an emergency.

The city originally reserved the property as part of a “South River Forest” park project.

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