Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Milwaukee County Sheriff’s department to continue island patrol

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The Milwaukee County Board Finance Committee voted 9-0 to reject Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s proposal to pay the city of Milwaukee to patrol Milwaukee County Parks where they are already responding to police calls. Abele’s plan was expected to save taxpayers $1.5 million to $1.7 million annually, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

So the sheriff’s department, which is really a law enforcement agency in search of a mission, will continue to patrol (in theory) little dots all over the county, driving through other law enforcement jurisdictions to protect Sheriff David Clarke’s scattered fiefdoms. As someone who worked in logistics for seven years, this approach to law enforcement jurisdictions is definitely medieval.

Somebody on the County Board should ask the sheriff if he plans to ask the county taxpayers for more money to establish substations at each of the parks. Instead, the new bestest buds vowed to save the sheriff’s treasure from the peasant taxpayers. Welcome to Nottingham.

The County Finance Committee even voted to throw more money at the department by taking money that was surplus from last year’s budget – money that was supposed to go to pay long term pension debt to reduce that burden – to pay cash for a new electronic medical records program for the sheriff. I understand it includes a machine that goes ping!

Supervisor Mark Borowski was quoted in the Journal Sentinel as saying, “The County Board is not going to stand for the decimation of the Sheriff’s Department.”

Why?

Somebody in Milwaukee County should ask why they even have a sheriff’s department. Each of the municipalities in Milwaukee County have their own law enforcement operations. The state patrol could handle the free way system. That only leaves the jail to run. Abele hasn’t proposed this, but if the jail were privatized the taxpayers of Milwaukee County could rid themselves of the sheriff’s department completely and the taxpayers would still have direct accountability through their local elected officials over the quality of law enforcement in their municipalities. Taxpayers would probably never notice the difference.

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