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 Sept. 18, 2016
Typically, my annual early reviews of the Apple's new flagship phone are called "24 hours with the new iPhone." That tight time frame wasn't possible this year, because the new iPhone 7 took more than a day and a half just to update all my apps, photos, videos and iCloud data. I only started to really see it work as promised by Saturday night.
Published Sept. 16, 2016
When Katrina Cravy signs off from FOX 6 on Oct. 12, it will mark the end of a 20-year chapter in her life, but another one is about to open. While the 46-year-old anchor, reporter and host has been a fixture at her station for almost 18 years, she's preparing to embark on a career at a media relations consultant, speaker and author.
Published Sept. 14, 2016
On Thursday, Rahny Taylor returns to Milwaukee radio as morning host at 97.3 NOW, replacing the syndicated "Elvis Duran Show." It's been a secret Taylor's been keeping for a while. Unlike his last gig in town with Wes McKane and Ally Faith, he's doing this one solo.
Published Sept. 2, 2016
In 2004, Tim Schneider opened The Shop in Bay View's Hide House. Fast forward to 2016, and the motorcycle repair/customization shop - that only works on Japanese and European bikes - averages a 6-8 week waiting list, and their phone rings off the hook. It was time to move.
Published Aug. 31, 2016
Former Brewers pitchers Dave Bush and Seth McClung spent a lot of time standing for the national anthem during their careers. Like their teammates, rising was expected of them before every game, so when Colin Kaepernick made a statement by refusing to stand before an exhibition game last week, ex-players took note.
Published Aug. 29, 2016
Today, Verizon data speeds got faster. Verizon just rolled out its LTE Advanced technology to bring 50% faster peak wireless data speeds to more than 288 million people in 461 cities, including Milwaukee.
Published Aug. 22, 2016
I've said it for years. Door County means different things to different people. Whether your idea of this magical peninsula is nature or adventure, shopping or relaxing, friends or family - or a mix of everything above, one storyline arcs above all the rest: Door County is what you make it.
Published Aug. 19, 2016
My friend Drew Olson has a new work address. The veteran Milwaukee sports journalist / broadcaster - and former OnMilwaukee.com senior editor - ended an 11-year run as a talk-show host at ESPN Milwaukee (540 AM) last week and will begin a new chapter with The Big 920 (WOKY) on Monday.
Published Aug. 18, 2016
This Saturday, Priscilla Presley - actress, activist and, perhaps most notably, widow of Elvis - is coming to Milwaukee for "Elvis and Me," an open conversation at The Pabst Theater about the life and experiences of the original First Lady of rock 'n' roll.
Published Aug. 3, 2016
I didn't really even know I was interested in driving a motorcycle until the House of Harley invited me to take a Riding Academy New Rider course. In three days, I checked something off my bucket list that I didn't know was on it. I took it seriously, and it was hard. But also really satisfying.