A timeline of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center

A shooting near the site of a future police training facility has cast new light on the controversial development.
A shooting near the site of a future police training facility has cast new light on the controversial development.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:17 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The shooting of a Georgia State Patrol trooper Wednesday morning near the site of a future Atlanta police training facility has cast new light on the controversial development.

Law enforcement officials said they were conducting a clearing operation near the site of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center when someone opened fire on the officers and troopers. The shooter was then shot by law enforcement and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The trooper, who was shot in the abdomen, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. He is listed in stable condition.

The future Atlanta police training facility was the site of an officer shooting on Jan. 18, 2023.
The future Atlanta police training facility was the site of an officer shooting on Jan. 18, 2023.(WANF)

The 85-acre property is owned by the city of Atlanta but located in DeKalb County’s south river forest, once home to the old Atlanta prison farm.

In 2015, the Atlanta Police Foundation was tasked into looking into what a training center would look like and what it would cost.

In April 2021, then-Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a plan to turn the forested land into a public safety training facility that would include a shooting range, a mock village and a burn center.

Opposition quickly arose from environmental groups, neighborhood associations and racial justice groups. Despite public outcry, the Atlanta city council gave the $90-million project a green light in September 2021.

By January 2022, activists and organizers who had dubbed the project “Cop City” began protesting at the site, with some even building shelters in trees to prevent the construction.

In May, seven protesters - the majority from out of state - were arrested after police accused them of throwing a Molotov cocktail at officers as they tried to remove the protesters from the site.

In December, five more people were arrested, this time on domestic terrorism charges, after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said protesters threw rocks at police cars and threw rocks and bottles at emergency services personnel outside neighboring fire stations.