The Atlanta City Council approved legislation Monday in support of transforming the old city jail into the Center for Diversion and Services.
The 24-hour facility will increase the range of options available to police when responding to calls related to mental health issues, substance abuse, and extreme poverty.
The council passed legislation that waives any conflicting provisions in the city’s code of ordinances that would prevent the city, its chief procurement officer, and partners Fulton County, Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD), and Grady Hospital from creating, establishing and operating the Center.
The council also approved an ordinance to amend the 2022 budget in the amount of $2.95 million to fund the one-time capital costs necessary to build the Center.
Other items adopted Monday include:
• A resolution requesting the mayor or his designee establish the City of Atlanta’s “Pilot Workforce Program” for the retention and advancement of the city’s workforce through job training programs.
• A resolution to establish a historical commission study group to make recommendations on amending the city’s charter to create a permanent historical commission that will support and expand the Urban Design Commission’s administration of Atlanta’s historic preservation program.
• An ordinance to amend the City of Atlanta’s Code of Ordinances to revise the duties of the Urban Design Commission as it relates to the commission’s review of demolitions that have been ordered by the City’s In-Rem Review Board, a board that conducts public hearings on properties determined to pose a risk to the health, safety or welfare of Atlanta residents.
• A resolution urging the Atlanta Police Department to consider implementing a policy to allow patrol vehicles to have a steady stream of blue lights during nighttime patrols to enhance police presence and deter criminal activity. “I drafted this legislation to increase police visibility, to deter criminals from illegal acts, make it easier to spot a cop in a crisis and to decrease potential bad interactions between police and citizens. We ran our campaign on being innovative when it comes to tough decisions,” City Councilmember Antonio Lewis said in a statement
• A resolution to authorize the City of Atlanta to accept the donation of a statue of Ambassador Andrew Young and the installation and the maintenance thereof for a period of up to 20 years from the National Monuments Foundation for placement in the Rodney Cook Sr. Park and to authorize the mayor or his designee to enter into any necessary agreements in connection with the Ambassador Young donation. A four-day celebrating of Young’s 90th birthday will be held in March.
• Unanimously chose Councilmember Matt Westmoreland to serve as the council’s appointment to the Atlanta Regional Commission for a four-year term.