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 â€“ and I'm not sure who, nor do I even especially care â€“ should be ashamed of himself.
Update: Sheriff Clarke's office just sent out a release. You be the judge:
Milwaukee, WI â€“ 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.Â Public safety should be his number one priority, rather than spewing political rhetoric and building his local profile as a conservative ideologue.Â Sheriff Clarke is an embarrassment to Milwaukee County.Â He has attacked the County Board, the County Executive, our Judicial Branch, and anyone who disagrees with his narrow-minded viewpoint.Â Now, heâ€™s using his dissatisfaction over budget cuts to disrespect the Office of the President.
"The budget fight is over, Sheriff.Â It ended in November.Â Perhaps you havenâ€™t noticed.Â The fight you should be having is with the Governor and Legislature responsible for these devastating cuts.Â Let me be clear.Â In the age of dwindling revenue, few officials enjoy dealing with budget cuts.Â Many of my colleagues and I disagreed with the vast majority of the cuts made within Milwaukee County, including the cuts to the Sheriffâ€™s Department.Â In fact, I went to Madison to fight these cuts.Â Sheriff Clarke, I donâ€™t recall seeing you join the fight for Milwaukee County.Â 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.Â Instead of working to secure precious resources for law enforcement, you grandstand for concealed carry and other pet projects.Â The President of the United States came to Milwaukee County; youâ€™re supposed to provide adequate protection for him.Â 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.Â Conservative talk radio doesnâ€™t pay your salary.Â The taxpayers of Milwaukee County pay you to administer law enforcement services.Â You are not paid for grandstanding and political posturing at every opportunity.Â You are not paid to stomp your feet like a child when you donâ€™t get your way.Â I donâ€™t see other respected law enforcement leaders, such as Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, acting this way.Â 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 April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.
Published April 4, 2016
I'm sitting here on Opening Day, in the first row of the press box at Miller Park, and it's quiet. Too quiet. I mean, I can hear the fans in the ventilation over the sound of stands in this not-sold-out stadium. Apparently, other people here are either rolling their eyes in the fifth inning (or they're passed out).
Published April 2, 2016
It's been a long while since we interviewed FOX6 meteorologist Vince Condella for a personal profile, but with the long-time weather man's upcoming retirement, it was time to catch up.
Published March 15, 2016
I'm a big fan of Atlas Obscura, a website that calls itself "the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places." And it does a good job. Yesterday, it took a look at Milwaukee and its 12 quirky treasures.
Published March 3, 2016
Sometimes, the `90s in Milwaukee feel like a distant memory; other times I can't believe they're so long gone. But then I looked at some of the photos I took while building the shell of what would eventually become OnMilwaukee, and these scenes seem ancient, indeed.
Published Feb. 19, 2016
On Saturday night, Mills Entertainment is bringing Christopher Lloyd, known to a generation as Doc Brown from the "Back to the Future" trilogy, to the Riverside Theater for a first-ever event. Not only will the theater show fans the first blockbuster movie from 1985, but Lloyd will be on hand to take questions and speak about the experience making the movies.