Atlanta Councilmember Westmoreland shares why he supported training center funding vote

Left to right, Councilmembers Antonio Lewis, Michael Julian Bond and Matt Westmoreland during public comment on Monday, June 5, 2023. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

On Wednesday’s edition of “Closer Look,” Atlanta City Councilmember Matt Westmoreland shared why he voted “yes” to approve funding for the city’s planned public safety training center.

The legislation passed 11-4 following record-breaking public comment that stretched over 14 hours with nearly unanimous opposition to the project. The vote allows for an initial $30 million to be transferred to the Atlanta Police Foundation for the center’s construction, though the true cost for taxpayers will be more than double than what was originally promoted to the public.

Westmoreland says that while he acknowledges issues with public engagement and transparency since the project lease’s approval nearly two years ago, his vote came down to what made “financial sense” for the city at this stage of the project.

“I truly believe at the end of this process we’re going to have the training center that we need,” Westmoreland said.