Denita Ball Wins Sheriff’s Race
Ball wins with 55% of the vote, defeating Brian Barkow and Thomas Beal.
Milwaukee County just elected its next Sheriff, and for the first time, it’s a woman. Denita Ball is the first female sheriff in Milwaukee County history and the first Black female sheriff in Wisconsin history.
“I know this is a historic moment,” said Ball to supporters at Sam’s Place after the results came in.
The new sheriff will have to wait until November to be formally declared the winner, but she said she’s not waiting to act. She said her top priority is addressing jail staffing issues.
“That’s going to be the thing I tackle and I am not going to wait until I am formally sworn in,” she said. “We have to make Milwaukee County a safer place to live, work, play and pray.”
Ball faced two other candidates on the ballot and one registered write in. MCSO inspector and commander of the Investigative Services Bureau Brian Barkow and MCSO captain Thomas Beal were on the ballot. Barkow and Beal both earned approximately 22% of the vote. MCSO Lieutenant Mohamed Awad ran as a write in.
At his election-night party at 3rd Street Market Hall, Barkow told Urban Milwaukee that he congratulated Ball on her victory, adding, “My commitment to the agency is still there, win or lose.”
Barkow said he was disappointed to lose, but that he was proud to have run a clean campaign and that he respected the voters’ choice. He also said the race brought forward new ideas for the sheriff’s office, and that he will continue to advocate for the policy ideas in his campaign platform from within the agency. “Regardless of who the sheriff is, the agency has to change in order for it to be sustainable,” he said.
Ball has served as Chief Deputy since 2018 when Lucas was first elected. When she joined, she became the highest-ranking woman in history to serve in the MCSO. She praised Lucas for hiring her during her victory speech. Lucas ran for mayor unsuccessfully this spring and did not run for re-election.
Lucas did not formally endorse Ball, but Ball did make several public appearances in recent months as the lead representative of the MCSO.
Ball has worked in law enforcement for more than 35 years. She began her career with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) in 1985. During her more than 25 year tenure with MPD she rose through the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy inspector. She also has a Ph.D from Cardinal Stritch University and did her dissertation on the use of deadly force by law enforcement.
Along with a long list of endorsements from current and former MPD officers, Ball was endorsed by two former Milwaukee police chiefs: Arthur Jones and Michael Brunson. She was also endorsed by current Milwaukee Fire Department Chief Aaron Lipski.
She also received endorsements from a number of elected officials including State Representatives Evan Goyke, Alderpersons Milele A. Coggs, Ashanti Hamilton, Mark Borkowski and current Milwaukee County Supervisors Sheldon Wasserman and Willie Johnson, Jr.
Nation Consulting served as a consultant on Ball’s campaign.
Your new Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball greets supporters at Sam’s Place pic.twitter.com/126P3qZ6XF
— Jeramey Jannene (@compujeramey) August 10, 2022
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