Heavy plumes of smoke were seen coming from the future site of the Atlanta public safety training center as protestors clashed with police. Currently, there is a heavy police presence along Key Road in southeast Atlanta. The entire road has been blocked off. An Atlanta Police Department helicopter was also seen flying above the location.

People have been protesting against the planning, and now construction of the future training facility since it was proposed in June 2021. By July 2021, opponents of the training center started camping out in surrounding trees and infamously coined the site as “Cop City.”

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Where is Atlanta’s Future Public Safety Training Facility?

The expected $90 million, the 85-acre police training center was announced and approved by the city of Atlanta in 2021. It is located in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. It will include a shooting range, mock city, and burn building, among other facilities.

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According to the Atlanta Police Foundation, the center is required to help boost morale and recruitment efforts, and previous facilities law enforcement has used are substandard, while fire officials now train in borrowed facilities. The police foundation, a nonprofit established in 2003, helps fund local policing initiatives through public-private partnerships.

The proposal has faced resistance from the community still reeling from months-long demonstrations protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

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According to protestors, the city’s announcement blindsided neighbors and the development process since has largely been secretive with limited input from the most affected communities. The facility poses environmental concerns at a time when the deadly impacts of climate change have become hard to ignore.

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The site is less than half a mile away from a tributary of the South River, which is one of America’s most endangered, as per the nonprofit conservative group American Rivers.