Sheriff David Clarke
His radio ads says he needs the help of armed homeowners, but Clarke has almost nothing to do with combating violent crime.
Last Friday, Sheriff David Clarke once again triggered a controversy by running a radio ad calling on citizens to arm themselves so they can defend themselves “until we get there.” Personal safety isn’t a spectator sport anymore, and “I need you in the game,” Clarke says.
This morning, Clarke was on CNN defending his ad, and noting that he had to lay off 42 people.
The ad. and Clarke’s reference to layoffs in his department, creates an image of the sheriff as a guy who spends his time combating violent crime perpetrated in neighborhoods and homes. In fact, Clarke and the Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies he oversees have almost nothing to do with it, as Urban Milwaukee has previously reported.
Office of Justice Assistance statistics for the two-year period of 2009-2010 show there were 106,936 violent and property crimes in the county. The Milwaukee Police Department handled 75 percent of those incidents, and most of the rest were handled by suburban police. The sheriffs handled just 57 crimes, or less than one-fifth of one-percent.
In 2009, the sheriff reported only 19 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,375 for the Milwaukee police, 3,288 for West Allis police, 1,908 for Wauwatosa and even 242 for the UW-Milwaukee police. That’s right, the UWM campus police handled 12 times more criminals than the Sheriff’s Department.
The main duties of the deputy sheriffs are to staff the Milwaukee County Jail and County Correctional Facility South (formerly House of Correction), handle the courthouse’s system of bailiffs, and patrol the freeways. More armed homeowners wouldn’t provide any help with those duties.