Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Under the Gun: Milwaukee County Sheriff David ClarkeSubmitted: 02/15/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Under the Gun: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke thinks homeowners should protect themselves with guns.

That's not something a lot of top law enforcement officers say, but Sheriff Clarke is not just any law enforcement officer.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm met up with the Sheriff while she studied gun violence in Wisconsin's biggest city.

Sheriff David Clarke has made headlines for nearly two years now for his view's on gun control. And as you'll see he's quite unapologetic about them.

Most recently he got national attention for a PSA on Milwaukee radio stations.

"I'm Sheriff David Clarke and I want to talk to you about something personal: your safety. It's no longer a spectator sport, I need you in the game. But are you ready?", says Clarke on the PSA.

Sheriff Clarke is serving his third four-year term in Milwaukee. He's been an outspoken critic of gun-control suggestions by the Milwaukee Police Chief, and the President.

"I trust law abiding people with guns. I trust them to make good decisions. The data is that the overwhelming majority of them do not use guns to commit crimes. So why do we want to focus on the wrong thing?" says Clarke.

It's a notion echoed by a powerful gun rights lobby you may have heard of.

"Gun control sounds nice. The fact is it's not so nice. Because all it does is put an increased burden on people who hunt, on people who need firearms, or want firearms for self-protection. They're the ones who follow the law," says National Rifle Association President David Keene.

Clarke says Milwaukee's gun violence problem is out of hand because the police and judicial system aren't on the same page.

"There's a lot of plea-bargaining, a lot of watered down prosecutions, a lot of horse trading that goes on. And that sends a message to the criminal element that, 'yeah I know we talk tough but in the end we don't back that action up'. Over time, when people realize, 'Guess what I got caught with a gun I'm going to the joint for six years, I'm going to the joint because I'm charged federally, I'm going away for ten years," says Clarke.

He says that's when things will start changing on the street. And he has a few ideas on how to make that happen.

"All felony possession of firearms, every one, should go to the federal government, not state court. In state court I believe the sentence is six years maximum, and they're not getting anywhere near that. In the federal it's ten, period," says Clarke.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting Clark called for armed security in all schools and public places. Clarke ran for Sheriff as a democrat. His warnings about disarming the public and not being tough enough on gun criminals sound a lot like the NRA's.

"You know first of all that your pool of victims is unarmed. Because they've complied with the law. They're law abiding people and they don't have guns. What else do you know? If you use a gun to go after them, you don't get any additional punishment for doing it," says Keene.

Clarke says legislation doesn't change things on the street. He doesn't buy into the idea that making things like straw purchases and illegal gun possession automatic felonies will make any difference.

"Yeah, I'd support that, but it isn't going to do any good. See we're looking for that technical fix; we're working on the wrong thing. What we have to do is get the judiciary and the prosecutor to say, 'Ok straw purchase, ten years.' Now that doesn't mean automatic ten years. In one case, the person got four days," says Clarke.

So what about that public service announcement that caused a national stir? Clarke says he was trying to get people to take responsibility for their personal safety since his budget was cut by $17 million in two years.

"With officers laid-off and furloughed simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can protect yourself until we get there," says Clarke on his PSA.

"If you're inside your home and the wolf is at the door, yeah, call 911; I'd recommend that. But I'm trying to prepare people, and leverage the fact that they have the means to defend themselves, and work with them and say, 'Hey here's some things to think about'," says Clarke.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

LAND O' LAKES - Even though it may not feel like it, Autumn has officially begun. Plenty of towns in the Northwoods celebrate the season with a colorama.

This weekend Land O Lakes is hosting its colorama. Land O Lakes has held a colorama for about 35 years.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Kid got outside and got active at the YMCA of the Northwood's Fit Kids Duathalon tonight. 

Three age groups competed in the running and biking events. 

The five and under group ran around the building and biked through the parking lot, but the older age groups biked through the trails behind the YMCA. 

"It's rugged enough that you have to have a little bit or stamina and a little bit or grit to actually make it through the course," said YMCA Aquatics and Youth and Family Director Matt Steingraber. 
 
Some of the kids even trained for the event. 

The top three in each age group got awards. 

The main purpose of the event was to get kids out of the house and doing something to keep them fit and active. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Pretty much everyone in northern Wisconsin knows about the Hodag.  People living in southern Mexico likely don't.  But a Mexican-made handcrafted Hodag will now help Rhinelander students go to college.

Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation member Harlan Larson and his wife went to Oaxaca, Mexico several years ago and met famous woodcarver Armando Jimenez there.  The couple learned Jimenez had traveled to Wisconsin in the past, but he hadn't ventured north of Baraboo.

+ Read More

MADISON - Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout plans to announce she is running for governor on Monday.

An email sent from one of her supporters urging attendance at her campaign kickoff event in Black River Falls spilled the news Friday.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - A well known sex offender in this area will get out of prison again.  Albert Chagnon, 35, is set to be released into Oneida County on Tuesday.

Chagnon was convicted of child pornography possession in 2003.

He was released in 2014, but soon ended up under arrest again for using newspaper clippings of girls' pictures to make a booklet.  That booklet had more than 270 photos in it, many from the Lakeland Times.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Some strong to severe storms rumbled through the Northwoods Friday.

Newswatch 12 went out to Lake Tomahawk for the video you see above.

Most of the damage there was minimal.
But people like Florian Bieschke from Minocqua didn't want to risk driving in the storm.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mom said her lifestyle completely changed when a new neighbor moved in. 

She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

"When I saw what he was found guilty of I was in shock. I was in complete shock," said Linda. 

He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

"As a parent it's important to be aware of who's in your neighborhood," said Wszalek. 

Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here