Milwaukee County Sheriff says being armed is better than 911Wisconsin News
-- Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. says calling 911 and waiting for help to arrive isn’t always the best option.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. says calling 911 and waiting for help to arrive isn’t always the best option.
Clarke’s voice is on a radio ad calling for county residents to defend themselves, saying they should learn to use firearms so they can defend themselves until deputies arrive. He says budget cuts have slowed response times.
Reaction was fast-and-furious this afternoon to Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s suggestion that people get a gun and learn how to use it because so many officers are laid off that quote, “simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.” The sheriff said in a radio ad, quote, “You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?” Jeri Bonavia of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort said most law enforcement officers want fewer guns on the street, not more. And she called Clarke’s statement an “amped-up version of vigilantism.” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said it was “irresponsible” to tell the public they cannot rely on the response they get from 9-1-1. Greenfield Police responded that none of its officers have been furloughed, violent crime is down, and their officers respond to 911 calls in less than two minutes. Roy Felber, head of the Milwaukee deputy sheriff’s union, said the answer is to hire more officers.
A state Justice spokeswoman said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen would not get into the debate, other than to say that he believes strongly in the First Amendment right of free speech and the Second Amendment right to own guns. County Board public safety chair Mark Borkowski said Sheriff Clarke was “preaching to the choir” on gun ownership, and most people who want guns already have them. But Clarke spokesman Fran McLaughlin said the ad did not necessarily encourage gun ownership. She said the main message was to take a safety course, and fight back to protect yourself.