Sheriff Clarke releases statement regarding city burglary prevention

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is lashing out against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele's policing plan following two burglaries on his street.

Authorities say Sheriff David Clarke was notified of two burglaries that occurred on his street Monday afternoon, September 24th when he arrived home. Police say one of the burglaries occurred at the residence next door to Sheriff Clarke's home.

The burglaries came on the same day Mayor Barrett and Abele unveiled a new Parks Policing Plan. It’s the first major County/City initiative in more than a decade.

Under a negotiated agreement, the Milwaukee Police Department will formally assume policing duties in 2013 at County Parks in the city of Milwaukee. That includes the entire lakefront.

Abele and Barrett say the agreement ensures the community will get better service in the Parks, the city will be compensated for their officers’ time in the Parks and the County will get increased transparency, save tax dollars and be assured that tax dollars allotted for Parks patrol are spent on Parks patrol.

Following the burglaries Sheriff David Clarke released the following statement:

"What irony, that these burglaries occurred on the same day Milwaukee’s two top clueless politicians, Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele, announced a ridiculous plan that will do nothing more than stretch already scarce Milwaukee police resources even thinner. The quality of life for my neighbors has been shattered by felony crime. I paid $7,780 in property taxes in 2011. I do not want the city’s portion spent on what few cops we have, to spend their limited time riding county buses or patrolling county parks. Take me off that list.

I want the Milwaukee police officers that I am paying for to address burglary, robbery, drug dealing, gang activity, domestic violence calls, stolen vehicles, shootings and shots fired, and suspicious cars and persons complaints, and have these calls responded to promptly. If there is any time left over, and there currently is not, then I want more preventive patrols in neighborhoods for my tax dollars. When my neighbor’s home is burglarized, it affects my quality of life as well. I think I speak for the vast majority of city residents and business owners in Milwaukee on that. 300 burglaries were recorded in the city in August.

Milwaukee police officers are doing everything they can just to keep up with calls for service. My hat is off to them. Preventive patrol is non-existent. I’m more experienced than to buy into this “beefing-up and extra patrol” fallacy put out by police officials. You can’t bamboozle me with phony statistics either. These “extra patrols” might go on for a few weeks, and then it’s on to a different neighborhood to deal with other problems. Once these so-called extra patrols disappear, the burglars or a new team of burglars return. This burglary problem in my neighborhood has been going on for over a year. Several arrests have been made, but new burglaries keep happening due to a soft-on-crime judiciary that Chief Flynn referenced at the Criminal Justice Council meeting last week. He indicated that one burglary suspect had been arrested 16 times but continued to be returned to the streets.

My neighbor was shaken out of her mind after leaving home and returning just over three hours later to discover that her house had been broken into and ransacked, and her TV and other items were taken. While I waited for a squad to arrive, another neighbor came by and alerted me to a second burglary a few houses away. I learned that MPD entered the first burglary as a low priority assignment. That is unacceptable. That is how the city of Milwaukee views burglary, receiving no higher than a low priority response designation. Numerous neighbors expressed their frustration over a lack of a consistent police presence. I hear this from city of Milwaukee residents continually. I’m speaking up for them.

I am demanding that Abele and Barrett stop playing political games with public safety with their obvious attempt to diminish my role as a public safety provider, and to stop hiding behind Chief Flynn. Barrett must tell citizens and business owners in the city of Milwaukee what he will specifically provide to the Milwaukee Police Department to better safeguard people and property. If he does not do this, I will redirect some of my resources to neighborhoods that are demanding more law enforcement presence. The $1.7 million that Abele is shifting to the city to have Milwaukee police officers patrol county parks can pay for deputy overtime to patrol neighborhoods. This is not a threat, it’s a promise. I don’t need Abele’s permission," Sheriff David Clarke said.