“This project speaks not just to one isolated facility but the current administration’s overarching goal to make all of New York City a ‘Cop City’ in and of itself.”


Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Eric Adams delivers at a ceremony in May, where he announced a new training facility for 18 city agencies involved in public safety measures.

“Cop City” has a new location on its carceral tour: New York City. In early May, Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to build a facility that will consolidate the training for 18 departments, including the NYPD, Department of Sanitation and Parks, Department of Homeless Services, and the Taxi & Limousine Commission. The project is set to break ground in College Point, Queens, in 2026.

It will be located next to the current police academy, which is only a decade old and already contains a 32-acre campus with a tactical village emphasizing hands-on, scenario-based training. The new building is currently set to cost at least $225 million in taxpayer dollars, using money earmarked for the Department of Corrections back in 2021.

Officials claim this facility will improve public safety by “professionalizing the idea of how to do enforcement training.” However, with NYPD spending $115 million on misconduct payouts last year alone, the department’s training model should not be spread to other city agencies. 

This type of training center reflects a concerning trend within policing to seek all its answers in mass surveillance. In their press conference announcing the plan, city officials justified the decision by citing concerns over some agencies’ performance quality. Earlier this year, in response to similar critiques, the Sanitation Department’s solution was to increase the use of surveillance cameras to track illegal dumping. This move adds to the staggering 15,000-plus cameras already in use by NYPD, which often utilize racist facial recognition technology to track New Yorkers.

The analogy to Atlanta’s $90 million dollar “Cop City” project is not exact; notably, New York’s site will be built on land already owned by NYPD and thus does not raise the same environmental concerns. However, this project speaks not just to one isolated facility but the current administration’s overarching goal to make all of New York City a “Cop City” in and of itself.

Eighteen city agencies now have their own police forces, and earlier this year, the Department of Homeless Services came under criticism based on allegations its peace officers abused residents. Given Adams’ vocal pro-police record, this “Cop City” project is merely his latest attempt to pour resources into an already bloated law enforcement agency. 

This practice reflects what abolitionist scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore calls “organized abandonment.” Under this theory, the government starves resources from essential services that serve poor and working-class citizens, leaving opportunities for privatization and extraction while relying on policing and carceral solutions to maintain a racial hierarchy and a veneer of safety.

“Cop City” is an example of this divestment occurring in real time. In the same breath that the Adams administration announced the construction of this facility and doled out over $150 million in overtime for officers to quash student protests over Palestine, it threatened to slash funding for public libraries.

The phrase “Cop City” may have originated from organizing efforts in Atlanta, but its concept has infected cities across the country, including New York. As of February, 47 states have similar projects existing or in development.

Despite Adams’ claims that this training will supposedly protect against mythical “bad guys,” the threat this facility imposes on citizens is undeniably real. It represents the next evolution of the administration’s plans to push New York further into a dystopian surveillance cityscape by spreading NYPD’s problematic practices throughout city government.  

Priyanka Shetty is a legal intern at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.). She previously worked as a civil rights investigator for a national impact litigation organization, investigating and supporting federal lawsuits around bail, police abuse, and probation issues.