Milwaukee County to Seek State Funding of Sheriff’s Department
Funds would pay for more deputies and legal costs
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County will ask the state legislature for $50 million in funding in the 2017-19 Wisconsin state budget to hire new sheriff’s deputies, plus unspecified funds to cover the county’s costs from lawsuits related to the deaths of inmates in the Milwaukee County Jail, according to a resolution adopted at the most recent meeting of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.
“Public safety is paramount and we need to provide the Sheriff’s Department with all the resources that are necessary to get the job done,” said Supervisor John F. Weishan, Jr. “Our community cannot shoulder the burden alone. The State of Wisconsin needs to help.”
On March 23, Milwaukee County Supervisors adopted a resolution communicating Milwaukee County’s position on several items in the areas of health and human services, juvenile justice, transportation and public works, judicial and public safety, and local finance that will be impacted by the next biennial state budget.
The resolution authorizes the county board’s legislative liaison to communicate the county’s support or opposition to several proposed provisions of the 2017-19 biennial state budget.
Supervisor Weishan offered an amendment to the resolution that calls for the legislature to increase funding for the Milwaukee County Office of the Sheriff by allocating $50 million to hire 50 new deputies for a period of ten years, plus an unspecified amount of funding to cover legal fees and other costs associated with lawsuits stemming from inmate deaths at the county jail.
The families of four inmates who died in 2016 while in the Milwaukee County Jail have all sued Milwaukee County, seeking millions of dollars in damages.
The jail is under the control of Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr.
Currently, the costs of lawsuits against the sheriff, including legal fees, judgements, and settlement costs, are borne by the county and do not come out of the sheriff’s budget.