Sheriff advocates DIY public safety E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. says in the ad, “With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.”

Clarke then encourages residents to sign up for firearms training courses, saying, “I need you in the game,” and, “We’re partners now. Can I count on you?”

Milwaukee officials quickly seized on the ad.

A spokesperson for Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement, “Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next ‘Dirty Harry’ movie.”

Alderman Michael Murphy called Clarke’s commercial irresponsible.

“This type of strategy of telling citizens, and inferring that we’ve laid off police officers in the city of Milwaukee, is simply not the truth and it’s wrong,” Murphy told WISN-TV. “We want citizens to be partners with us in fighting crime, but they should not be vigilantes.”

The Greenfield, Wisconsin P.D. also issued a response on its Facebook page that violent crime in that area was down, and that its department had not been affected by layoffs.

“The decision to arm yourself with a firearm is a very personal and private decision that should not be driven by fear that our officers will not respond to your calls for help,” the department’s statement said.

According to WTMJ-TV, Clarke has defended the radio spot, saying waiting for emergency response constituted “a very passive, ‘sheep mentality’ approach that just basically says, ‘Just succumb to your accoster,’ and I’m saying, ‘No, you have some other options.’”

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