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Atlanta City Council earmarks millions for police and fire equipment

November 8, 2023

Atlanta City Council passes significant funding for emergency services

The Atlanta City Council has unanimously approved a substantial investment for emergency response equipment.

On Monday (6 November), the council greenlit a financial package totaling $40 million to address the dire need for new equipment within the city’s police and fire departments.

The move comes in response to the growing concerns of vehicle shortages affecting the city’s first responders.

Funding breakdown: new equipment to support Atlanta’s safety

Detailed in the legislation, the funding includes approximately $18 million earmarked for the fire department’s resources.

These funds are set to purchase essential equipment, such as one ladder truck, eight fire engines, one utility truck, two rescue boats, 45 defibrillators, and breathing apparatuses.

The Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department has been grappling with equipment shortages, leading to the closure of stations and shared resources between them.

In recent weeks, firefighter advocates have noted that the department’s equipment crisis, compounded by an increase in call volumes over the years, has led to five to 20 trucks being sidelined at any given time due to maintenance issues.

Council members attribute the situation to previous administration failures in replenishing the fleet amidst protracted supply chain delays.

Council member Dustin Hillis expressed concerns about the past inaction: “The city has not added any new engines or trucks to its fire fleet since, I believe, 2019 or 2020 during the prior administration.”

The current funding provision is also a step towards pre-empting similar challenges by ensuring a steady supply of updated equipment.

Police department’s share and Mayor’s support

The Atlanta Police Department will benefit from more than $20 million of the allocated funds, which are designated for new patrol cars, motorcycles, four-wheelers, and vans.

This portion of the funding will facilitate the addition of 150 new Dodge Durangos and 55 Dodge Chargers to the police fleet.

Mayor Andre Dickens has lauded the allocation as essential for community safety, recognizing the benefits of updated equipment and vehicles.

“These investments will include new fire engines, trucks and life-saving apparatus for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department as well as expanding the Atlanta Police Department’s take-home vehicle program,” Mayor Dickens stated.

The legislation also seeks approval from Invest Atlanta for an additional $5 million to upgrade equipment at three fire stations situated in the city’s tax allocation districts, further demonstrating the council’s commitment to enhancing public safety infrastructure.

FSJA Comment

The recent allocation by the Atlanta City Council is a pivotal step in bolstering the operational capacity of Atlanta’s first responders.

By directing funds to replace and upgrade critical equipment, the council addresses the immediate needs of the fire and police departments, ensuring they are better equipped to serve the growing city.

Amidst increasing emergency calls and the evident stress on current resources, this funding is expected to significantly improve response times and the effectiveness of public safety services in Atlanta.

The commitment shown by the city leaders in maintaining and expanding their emergency service fleets signifies a forward-looking approach to community safety and preparedness.

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