I just read a news release from Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines' office, blasting Sheriff David Clarke's "decision to assign sheriffs deputies to provide only partial security" for President Obama's Milwaukee visit today.
Joining in the criticism is County Board Chairman Lee Holloway. Hines called the Sheriff's decision "appalling."
"I believe the unprecedented decision by Sheriff Clarke is clearly an attempt to put politics ahead of duty, and ahead of the Sheriff's sworn commitment to provide security and safety for a visiting dignitary of the highest order -- our Commander In Chief," Hines said.
"The Sheriff obviously cares little about that sworn commitment, and is focused instead on scoring some temporary political points with a portion of his constituency."
Holloway said, "It's the Sheriff's sworn duty to provide adequate protection for all citizens, including dignitaries that visit our community. I'm concerned that Sheriff Clarke is providing less protection to our current President than he has for previous Presidents."
"I'm really disappointed that the Sheriff is playing heavy politics with security for dignitaries. I really thought more of the Sheriff, and I hope that he adds additional security both today and in future presidential visits," Holloway said.
Well, this is weird.
I haven't heard Clarke's side of the argument, but I'm pretty sure Obama is covered with ample security during this trip to Milwaukee. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be here.
Hines said the sheriff's "embarrassing" decision will make it easier for those who believe there is a need to seriously study a metro police department (for all of Milwaukee County) that removes the elected, political element from the Sheriff's Office. "I promise that I will be a part of that effort, so that we do not repeat this type of deplorable and disrespectful action toward a visiting President again," he said.
Maybe, but the infighting between city and county, especially when it comes to law enforcement, is embarrassing. And this snippiness is especially embarrassing, since it's the kind of stuff that makes national news.
How about we put politics aside and protect our president, whoever he is? And, if he's already amply protected, we pass on the opportunity for a politically motivated media spectacle?
Someone – and I'm not sure who, nor do I even especially care – should be ashamed of himself.
Update: Sheriff Clarke's office just sent out a release. You be the judge:
Milwaukee, WI – While it is generally not an accepted practice to discuss the planning and execution of dignitary protection, today's media discourse necessitates a response. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office participated in dignitary protection planning with the Secret Service, State Patrol and other local agencies well in advance of the president's visit to Milwaukee today. SWAT teams, K9 sweeps and motorcade/mobile aspects of security remain in place, particularly at General Mitchell International Airport.
The county budget forced the State Patrol to step in to handle the manpower needed for the large number of ramp closures along the freeway route, a function that has always been handled by MCSO. County Executive Chris Abele's budget specifically removed the substantial funding for dignitary protection in 2012. The County Board of Supervisors approved these cuts, against the advice of Sheriff Clarke.
Typically, the Sheriff's Office has budgeted a set amount for dignitary protection each year, based on experience. In presidential election years, that amount is increased. The county executive and county board decided to eliminate the funding entirely. They now seek to distance themselves from their ill planning.
County Executive Abele's budget specified that dignitary protection is "not a core service and can be provided by municipalities." Despite that, the Sheriff's Office continues to provide the necessary security, as determined by planning with the Secret Service, to ensure the safety of the president.
Another update, this time a release from Supervisor Eyon Biddle, Sr.
"I am disgusted that Sheriff Clarke has chosen to put his personal ideology ahead of his responsibility to protect and serve. Public safety should be his number one priority, rather than spewing political rhetoric and building his local profile as a conservative ideologue. Sheriff Clarke is an embarrassment to Milwaukee County. He has attacked the County Board, the County Executive, our Judicial Branch, and anyone who disagrees with his narrow-minded viewpoint. Now, he’s using his dissatisfaction over budget cuts to disrespect the Office of the President.
"The budget fight is over, Sheriff. It ended in November. Perhaps you haven’t noticed. The fight you should be having is with the Governor and Legislature responsible for these devastating cuts. Let me be clear. In the age of dwindling revenue, few officials enjoy dealing with budget cuts. Many of my colleagues and I disagreed with the vast majority of the cuts made within Milwaukee County, including the cuts to the Sheriff’s Department. In fact, I went to Madison to fight these cuts. Sheriff Clarke, I don’t recall seeing you join the fight for Milwaukee County. I do, however, remember that you traveled to Madison to testify in favor of the Concealed Carry legislation.
"This is a clear case of misplaced priorities. Instead of working to secure precious resources for law enforcement, you grandstand for concealed carry and other pet projects. The President of the United States came to Milwaukee County; you’re supposed to provide adequate protection for him. Perhaps if you stop cozying up to Mark Belling, Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner long enough, you can get back to your priorities as the Sheriff of this County. Conservative talk radio doesn’t pay your salary. The taxpayers of Milwaukee County pay you to administer law enforcement services. You are not paid for grandstanding and political posturing at every opportunity. You are not paid to stomp your feet like a child when you don’t get your way. I don’t see other respected law enforcement leaders, such as Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, acting this way. Maybe the Office of the Sheriff should be changed to an appointed, rather than elected, position.
"Sheriff, I call on you to take a page out of your own DOTS program and MAN UP!"
Oh rabid, if you were paying attention to the news you would know that the County Board and County Exec are of the position that they can dictate what the Sheriff can spend money on. In this year's budget, dignitary protection was explicitly removed.
Do you believe elected officials are allowed to take a vacation? Obama sure seems to.
Well surprise surprise...turns out Clarke had his swat team in Waukesha County instead of protecting the President of the United States. Where is he today to answer for this? Vacation in Mexico. You can't even make this %$#* up. What an embarrassment this clown is.
Pretty sure the County Board does not dictate what's in the Sheriff's budget...only what it is. Also, you do realize Hines is on the Common Council, right. Nothings more pathetic than the blathering of a Charlie Sykes drone.
I find it hilarious that Hines supports a regional police force. How about regional fire departments and garbage collection? If he wants to start consolidating services to save money the county board should be the first place to start.
The blame for this should be on Able and the County Board for eliminating dignitary protection services from the County Budget. Funny how facts can get in the way sometime.
Show me the other Talkback
6 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Oct. 16, 2014
Well before the Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba began making IPO rumblings in America, I was familiar with its offerings. I'd never bought anything from it ... until this month.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
Once upon a time, I figured that the magnificent, serene and beautiful Door County is a place only to be enjoyed by adults. Maybe my priorities have changed, though, because even after 20 years of visits, only recently did I come to the conclusion that kids could fall in love with this magical retreat, too. Turns out I was right. After the summer rush died down, we took our daughter up to Door County for the first time this weekend. It was a wonderful journey.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just about a week ago, our sweet little cat, Jabie, disappeared from our Bay View home. Maybe one of us left the patio door open a bit, I'm not sure. But after hours upon hours of walking the neighborhood, taping up posters and talking to every stranger we see, she's still nowhere to be found.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
I've had a full day now to play with the brand new iPhone 6. Like most pieces of new technology, it's a mixed bag. iPhones aren't new to me - I've owned every one but the first model, and I use mine nonstop as both a work and personal device. This model is different in many ways, but as usual, the biggest story here is the software, not the hardware.
Published Sept. 16, 2014
Entering play tonight, the Brewers are 1.5 games out of the playoff picture. Right now, all of Milwaukee should be very excited about the Brewers, starting with me. Yet, for some reason, we're not.
Published Sept. 1, 2014
If OnMilwaukee.com was a child - and it many ways it feels like one to me - Milwaukee's Daily Magazine would be getting its driver's license today. It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.
Published Aug. 27, 2014
Back in June, I wrote about the five summer kids trips I couldn't wait to take. Well, summer got busy, and despite my best intentions, I only made it to one of my top five suggestions. But that's not to say I was a deadbeat dad this season. My almost-6-year-old and I had lots of fun this summer, and in fact, we found a few other places to visit as the calendar inched closer to the return of school. All three were just within an hour from home.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
I recently interviewed a former boss, a courageous woman who once hired me as an intern. She's now affiliated with the Milwaukee Masterpiece, a high-end car show. Meet Bev Jurkowski, my mentor, and the woman crazy enough to ask me to be a "celebrity judge" this weekend at the show.