Finally a Wisconsin cop speaks up! In a novel way.
A sheriff who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime.
In the 30-second commercial, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says personal safety is no longer a spectator sport.
“I need you in the game,” he says.
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” he adds. “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.”
The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism.
“That doesn’t sound too smart,” Felber said. “People have the right to defend themselves, but they don’t have the right to take the law into their own hands.”
Under Wisconsin’s “castle doctrine,” someone who uses deadly force against an unlawful intruder to their home, business or vehicle is presumed to have acted reasonably. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice said that as of this week, there are about 155,000 concealed carry permits in Wisconsin.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Clarke said he just wants people to know what their options are. While self-defense isn’t for everyone, some people see personal safety as their own responsibility, he said, and they should be trained properly.
“I’m not telling you to `Hey, pick up a gun and blast away.’ … People need to know what they are doing if they chose that method — to defend themselves,” he said.
But he also said he wanted to call on residents to be law enforcement “partners.” He said he could either whine about budget cuts that forced him to lay off 48 deputies last year or he could get creative.
“People are responsible to play a role in their own safety, with the help of law enforcement,” Clarke said. “I’m here to do my part, but we have fewer and fewer resources. We’re not omnipresent, and we have to stop giving people that impression.”
“After sitting down and thinking about this, I’m thinking `Hey, I’ve got an untapped reserve over here, and it’s the public,”‘ Clarke said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office released a statement criticizing the ad: “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”
Barrett was beaten up several years ago by someone with a tire iron, and Clarke said he thought that would make the mayor “a lot more sensitive to people being able to defend themselves in such instances. A firearm and a plan of defense would have come in handy for him that day.”
Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said Clarke took a dangerous position with his ad. She pointed to the case of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida who fatally shot an unarmed 17-year-old following an altercation. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
“I feel like this is such an irresponsible thing for our chief public safety officer of a county to do,” Bonavia said. “I think he owes this community an apology. And if he really believes that he’s not capable of providing for our public safety he should get a different job.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/26/wis-sheriff-urges-residents-to-get-gun-training/#ixzz2J5HNp9KZ
6 thoughts on “Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm themselves”
Awesome! Every Sheriff in the country should adopt the same attitude. Self-defense, what a concept.
So this sheriff wants to count on the people just because of budget cuts and police layoffs. Sorry sheriff, count on yourself and do your damn job of being a cop – that is what you get paid for. The rights of the people have always been there and now because you have budget cut backs and less cops on your force you are asking the people to partner up with you guys – you got to be kidding. If it wasn`t for these illegal gun laws maybe we wouldn`t have to have so many cops because we the people could take care of ourselves with out no cop intervening on our rights. Sounds to me that you cops want us people to be on your side and to be more understanding of you cops. We all couldn`t trust cops then and we cannot trust the cops now much less count on the cops to be there when we need them. You cops have ruined your reputation with how cops have acted so many times in the past – you are all for the most part just a bunch of untrustworthy thugs hiding behind your damned badges.
Dan, that’s exactly what I thought.
This sheriff is telling it like it is. They can still “do the job” if they aren’t tied up “doing the job” somewhere else. Response time is the key item here. It will just take them longer to get there. People have to expect that with less deputies, it will take them longer to respond. What he is saying, and it’s clear to me, is “defend yourself until we get there.”
I’m with the sheriff on this.
There is no need to become a “vigilante” – it’s just a point of preparation.
I’ve had my life threatened before, so I know the feeling.. and even though I’d owned and used guns my entire adult life, I realized that day that I was nothing more than a pawn in the hand of a maniac (who I found out later was a wanted felon!).
I went out and got training, got a concealed license, and began carrying daily. Since then I’ve not been assaulted again, but have had an instance where someone realized the presence of an armed citizen, and decided NOT to undertake a criminal action because of my presence.. I’ll never again go without, if I can help it.
Being prepared is NOT vigilante-ism… Why do you wear a seatbelt, or carry a spare tire, or make sure your cell phone is charged?? it’s all to be prepared, so you aren’t in trouble in case you need it…
The hand-wringing fear-infatuation by the lefty idiots is mind-numbing..
2bit Bill: You talk about vigilantism, well take a look at the cops and then talk about who the vigilantes are. Also I am a felon – for possession of marijuana – NON-VIOLENT FELON. That is right, I never stole or had no violence on my record , never even sold a drug of any kind not even a joint, just a non violent felony charge from decades ago. For people to catagorize a guy like me being not able to legally able to own or carry a gun/fire arm because I am a felon is just plain wrong. There are a lot more vigalante cops out there thinking their shit don`t stink than you can shake a damned stick at. Don`t think that just because someone is a felon means that he is a criminal.