Former Atlanta Police chief defends training site controversy

Protesters argue the location of the facility is a major environmental concern.
Protesters argue the location of the facility is a major environmental concern.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 4:51 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Protesters are meeting on the site where Atlanta Police want to build a sprawling training center.

The planned site was the scene of a shootout with police this week that killed a protester.

Police told Atlanta News First that the only reason anyone was shot is because the protesters shot at them first.

People planning to attend the protest say they’re going because it gives them a chance to mourn that person who died, and also because it allows them to continue protesting against the place they’ve named “Cop City”.

The 85-acre facility is the brainchild of a lot of people.

One of them is former Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, who gave the space a greenlight in 2021 as chief of police.

“We can give them the best training that the community is demanding,” said Bryant. “2020 was just that, a lot of people demanded that our officers be better trained. This facility will give us the ability to train, not just the Atlanta Police Department, but police agencies across the region as well as fire and rescue.”

Bryant says his heart goes out to the trooper that was shot and the 26-year-old who died near the site during Wednesday’s shooting.

According to police, officers were clearing people who were illegally on the property before shots were fired.

Protesters argue the location of the facility is a major environmental concern.

Bryant told Atlanta News First that the department looked hard for a location in the city that could meet the region’s needs to train but there was no better alternative.

Bryant said the facility is meant to give first responders better training in the area they serve.

“Right now, that’s what we’re doing is having to go to Forsyth and when you take police officers out of the jurisdiction that they patrol, we’re losing that officer for a day if not more,” said Bryant. “With a facility more local to the area, we can now not lose our officers for so long. We can give them the best training that the community is demanding.”