Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. recently gave area residents a reality check about local law enforcement's ability to protect them. In a public service radio ad, the county's top cop advises that personal security “is no longer a spectator sport. I need you in the game. But are you ready?” With tightened budgets and lowered police manpower, “simply calling 9-1-1 is no longer your best option,” Clarke says in a grim, no-nonsense voice. “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed — or you can fight back. But are you prepared?”
In Clarke's mind, being prepared means knowing how to use a firearm if the need arises. “Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there,” he advises. “You have a duty to protect yourself and your family,” Clarke counsels county residents. “We're partners now. Can I count on you?”
The radio message, produce by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and played on local stations such as talk radio WISN, prompted predictable outrage from liberal politicians and mouthpieces in the Milwaukee area. Mayor Tom Barrett dutifully sounded off, accusing Clarke of trying to imitate a Clint Eastwood police character. “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie,” Barrett commented in his shoot-from-the-hip statement.
Clarke replied by telling Fox News that he had never seen a Dirty Harry movie, “but if that's all the mayor can come up with, that's pretty weak.” He added that Barrett obviously “doesn't have much to offer, and that's okay. My job is to protect the public.”
Clarke went on to explain that the Milwaukee area has suffered a rise in burglaries and robberies, and the ad was an attempt to help residents prepare for the possibility of being targeted by a violent criminal — with the police nowhere to be found.
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Photo of Sheriff David Clarke: AP Images