Mayor Dickens explains his support for the Atlanta training center

From left to right: Rose Scott talks with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens about what’s next for the future of the controversial police and fire training facility. ( Photo credit: Tiffany Griffith/ WABE)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says Atlanta does not currently have a central location for police officers and firefighters to train.

Dickens voted in favor of the $90 million Atlanta public safety training center in 2020 while serving on the Atlanta City Council.

On Friday’s edition of the “Closer Look,” Dickens stood by his stance that 69% of Atlantans support building the site amid growing controversy and protests.

“I think that you know, it’s interesting because this has been here for plus 50 years,” said Dickens. “It was public safety, it was a police academy before that and then it was a prison farm on one side and a police academy. To this day, right now, the police of Atlanta are learning how to shoot guns out there and we have decided to move that aspect of it from outside that area to another area on the other side.”

During the conversation, Dickens told show host Rose Scott that he was sorry that a protester lost their life and a law enforcement officer was shot near the land.

The mayor also responded to an independent legal review that claims he can terminate the lease agreement between the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation without cause and talked about the creation of the South River Forest and Public Safety Training Center Community Task Force.