At the recent city retreat, several citizens spoke aggressively against the proposed location of the public safety complex on the Southside of Tallahassee. However, City Commissioner Curtis Richardson defended the city’s decision to support the location.
Many residents, most from the Southside community, argued against the police station being placed on the Southside.
Cea Moline, a student in Emergency Management at Florida State, said she is “worried that putting it in that area of town…might endanger black and brown people who live in that area…we know that, you know, the police isn’t really accountable in any city in America for what it does to people. Whether it be shootings, killings, or beatings.”
Opponents also argued that the police station would take away from Southside jobs, would drive up property prices, would provide an incentive to police officers to arrest colored people because of it being a “weed and seed zone,” and that the money that could be put towards the proposed complex would be better utilized elsewhere.
Residents cited a city audit that indicated that crime statistics were over reported and complained that this information was not sufficiently explained to the public.
Due to this lack of transparency, these residents said they could not trust the city to build a police station on the Southside.
However, Tallahassee City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, later in the meeting, spoke in favor of the police station being placed on Southside:
“I have lived on the Southside of Tallahassee for 25 years. My wife and I chose to build our home on the Southside of Tallahassee.. I want the public safety complex. The people that I talk to, my neighbors, those who are involved in the neighborhoods movement on Tallahassee want the public safety complex on this side of town…what you heard today, is not characteristic of what I’ve heard in all of my years.”
Richardson stated that the complex would allow for more public meeting space, more community-oriented policing, and would help to develop the Southside by coexisting with other Southside developments that are already taking place.
At the January 30th city commission meeting this Wednesday, officials will vote to authorize city staff to negotiate an architectural and design contract for the public safety complex with the Architects Design Group.