Sandy Springs Police will have a new fitness and training center funded entirely with seized money.

The City Council on May 20 approved a $257,197 contract with Diversified Construction of Georgia to make improvements at an existing building at 182 Hilderbrand Drive that will house the fitness center.

“We will be using police department-seized funds at no cost to the city or taxpayers,” Police Chief Ken DeSimone told the council. The fitness center will take up most of the two-story building, will also include classrooms and may be open to other jurisdictions.

DeSimone said that the department will still need to contract with a fitness company to supply equipment, which will also be funded with seized money. He said the department currently has $714,568 of cleared money in its seized funds account, thanks to “drug dealers passing through Sandy Springs,” DeSimone joked.

He said one benefit of the police department having its own fitness center is that a lot of gyms close at night, which is “the middle of the day for some police officers who work the night shift. They can’t go to a gym at three in the morning because there’s none open. This allows our men and women who work at night to have a gym and a training facility open for them 24 hours a day.”

But DeSimone said the fitness center will not be a typical gym.”Some of this is specific to police such as heavy bags and training bags that we have to use for night stick training [and] certain dummies that you shoot the taser into,” he said. “The fitness facility is not what a civilian thinks of a fitness facility as. It is a gym but there’s specialized equipment that we have to use for specific police training.”

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.