Florence City Manager Wants ‘Conclusion Soon’ On Guantanamo Prisoners

February 24, 2016
Photo: Supermax prison near Florence, Colorado (AP Photo)
A guard tower looms over a federal prison complex which houses a Supermax facility outside Florence, in southern Colorado. 

another overture from Washington, D.C. about the possibility about closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and moving the detainees to U.S. soil.

Mike Patterson, city manager of Florence, has heard it all before. He told NPR's David Greene Wednesday morning that officials in the town near the Supermax federal prison -- which feds have considered as a replacement for Guantanamo -- want a decision made either way.

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"We are looking for a conclusion soon," Patterson said. "If it's going to happen here, or frankly where ever it's going to happen, I hope the folks in D.C. will immediately engage in conversation with where ever they are planning to send [prisoners]."

Patterson said the city still doesn't want to Guantanamo detainees to come to Supermax -- but not because they are worried about the prisoners themselves being dangerous.

"Where ever these folks go, it brings an additional target on that community," he said. "There are people out there who, on both sides, who either want to get them out or just try to hurt them. And it's our community, or whatever community they go to, that would be caught in between. That's our greatest concern."

He said already the city has already seen threats posted on Facebook from someone who wanted to break out Al-Qaeda prisoners already locked up. 

"And unfortunately, had he done something like that, he would have not gotten anywhere near the prisoners. He would have simply hurt guards and people who are our friends," Patterson said.

President Obama, who is leading the charge to close Guantanamo, still faces obstacles to his plan from Republicans in Congress.

Click the audio player above to hear Greene's full conversation with Patterson.