Atlanta councilman calls for return of officers protecting public safety center

Twenty-four-hour security continues at the site of the new Atlanta Public Safety Training Center as vandals and protesters try to derail the controversial project. 

At least one member of the Atlanta City Council expressed concerns that his district is suffering because of the high number of officers assigned to security detail at the 85-acre site. 

District 12 Councilman Antonio Lewis insists crimes are taking place in his district and he wants Zone 3 officers back in the community keeping neighborhoods safe. 

"So, I've been giving addresses to the major. We got three murders last week. My uncle got shot two months ago at an address. I gave the major the address," Lewis complained. 

Lewis is frustrated. He says he is watching crime literally happening in his district, while officers are still being assigned to protect the almost $110-million project that will attract first responders from all over the Southeast. 

Lewis says he is concerned about southeast Atlanta. 

"I've been reaching out to my major in my district, and I'm not satisfied with the answers about it. Last week, myself and a group of community leaders, we walked into an active chop shop. I told the major. I saw about 50 kids and about 75 Hyundais right on Metropolitan Parkway," Lewis asserted. 

Atlanta police chief responds to officers guarding ‘Cop City’

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum quickly responded. 

"The sooner we can have a group stop setting things on fire, the sooner we can return officers to the neighborhoods, because should we be protecting the training center? No, sir. I will not allow the citizens of Atlanta to see their safety erode because a small group of individuals have committed and used violence and arson to make the city less safe," the APD commander explained. 

Opponents have waged a very public fight against the public safety training center site, at least 78 incidents of arson and violence. 

"We will not let a very small group of individuals erode the safety of the city by attacking its training campus," Chief Schierbaum replied. 

The councilman says he respectfully disagrees. 

"I think we need our officers back in our districts because, to have an active chop shop that the council member walks into, to only get an email back that says, ‘We'll have traffic crimes look into it.’ I can see it happening right now. I need some help in Zone 3," the councilman insisted. 

Chief Schierbaum pointed out that crime is actually down in Zone 3 by 7% over this time last year. 

While the councilman pointed out that the chop shop is still operating. The chief says his department is actively working on the case.