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Clarke Says 911 'No Longer Your Best Option,' But Response Times Fine Here

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke called on gun owners to protect themselves and "fight back" because his department is short staffed. But Fox Point's Police Chief Tom Czaja said that's not a problem here.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s personal safety message, which called on Milwaukee County gun owners to “fight back” and take a certified gun safety course, started a media firestorm as Clarke appeared on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Still, the inquiries came after Clarke issued the following public service announcement:

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? With officers laid-off and furloughed, simply calling 9-1-1 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 defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?

Airing on news talk radio host Mark Belling’s show, put on the department’s website and posted on the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the message has unnerved anti-violence and anti-gun groups.

One anti-violence group called Clarke’s message “vigilantism” and a spokes woman from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office said: "Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie," according to the Journal Sentinel.

On Badger Blogger, Glenn D. Frankovis wrote:

…the point is that when someone is breaking into your home, you really ARE in a much better position to respond to the threat than waiting for an Officer to respond to your 911 call (assuming you even have time to make that call).

Fox Point Police Chief Tom Czaja said the department supports the Constitutional rights of Fox Point citizens to own and possess firearms, and their right to protect themselves. And, if you do own a firearm, then you should take the proper safety courses.

But he's not calling on Fox Point citizens to take any type of vigilante approach.

Czaja said his department has been at full staff and their response times have been within one minute for priority calls while non-priority calls average a five minute response.

Still, Fox Point residents should be aware that they don’t use Milwaukee County’s 911 System, he said.

“The department uses Bayside’s 911 system and it answers all cell and landline calls,” Czaja said. “It’s been reliable and we have not had any problems so I can’t speak for the system the county uses.”

The Shorewood and Whitefish Bay police chiefs were not available Monday; they will be included in this article as soon as they are reached for comment.

Keith Schmitz January 29, 2013 at 08:26 PM
That's idiotic (no surprise). All you really need is a ADT sign or similar. The idea that "bad guys," as the childish minds in the NRA likes to call them, are just busting into people's homes when they are home is extremely rare. I know you will bleat out -- "but at least I'm protected." Not really, when the chance of someone being killed or injured by the gun are much greater than the imaginary protection it affords. But one nice thing about the sign Donny. At least you know the kids will be safer playing over at these homes.
David Tatarowicz January 29, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Clarke is a Grandstander and anybody who has followed him would immediately know that his real agenda is to get back at Abele et al. However his statement is right --- even if the cops could be there within 120 seconds -- so what? if it is a dire situation, that would be at least 90 seconds too late! When I was young and traveled a lot, someone thought my wife lived by herself in our apartment -- he literally broke down the door of the apartment and was entering the bedroom with my wife screaming -- a knife in his hand -- to his surprise I was there and immediately ran at him -- he hesitated a moment deciding whether to fight but took off --- I chased him out of the apartment, going slowly through the door in case he was waiting for me to stab me -- but he was beating feet down the stairs. My wife had called cops immediately, and they were there within no more than 4 minutes and had already circled the block looking for the guy. Unfortunately it is not always possible to have a gun at the ready --- with kids and all depending upon your situation --- but cops respond to crime, they don't prevent crime --- and if you think 911 will bring them quickly enough --- you just may be Dead Wrong.
Bob McBride January 29, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Not really all that rare, Sparky. http://shorewood.patch.com/articles/2-more-home-burglaries-overnight-on-tuesday
CowDung January 29, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Didn't we recently have a string of home burglaries in Shorewood where the criminal entered homes that were occupied at the time?
CowDung January 29, 2013 at 08:48 PM
It looks like Bob beat me to it...
Alol January 29, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Gardenlady, where did you read that, about the lady in jail as of last night? Can you post a link?
DG January 29, 2013 at 09:06 PM
dills- My wife and I took a course two weeks ago and received our permits last week. We live in WFB and even though it appears safer than some of the places we've lived (Atlanta, Memphis, Phoenix) it's always better to be prepared.
Gardenlady January 29, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Story is available on WISN.
Lyle Ruble January 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM
@The Donny Show....You have proven again that you're an intellectual giant!
NObama 2012 January 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM
WRLA reports: Two black men face multiple charges, including first-degree burglary and attempted murder, in connection with an early-morning violent home invasion in Raleigh, NC Oakwood neighborhood in which a man was shot and his wife sexually assaulted. In the ghetto, robbing and raping is known is known as ‘multi-tasking.’ Sheriff Clarke is right, get a firearm and get trained.
Cardinal Biggles January 29, 2013 at 10:45 PM
The test for the ages is whether mortality rates will increase significantly enough among people who keep guns, that it would make a difference in terms of the gene pool. As long as we keep reducing death rates due to other causes, it probably won't make much difference if a few gun owners or their family members end up dead due to user error or non-adaptive action. In other words, guns will undoubtedly cause a reduction in the reduction of death & injury rates, but it probably won't exceed the increased reductions in other areas such as automotive safety, industrial accidents, illness and so on. (Sorry, I'd like to edit that last sentence so it's less convoluted but my time is up. Gotta get to 5:00 mass or something.)
Gardenlady January 30, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Video of the sheriff on Piers Morgan is available online. He showed up with zero statistics, tried to make it sound like he responds to homeowners who call 911, refused to answer basic questions, and generally made a total fool of himself. As soon as the grandstanding part ends, this guy is not interested. Seldom has anyone made a bigger clown of himself in just 11 minutes. Nobody can watch this guy and feel safer, unless their idea of safety is having law enforcement spend time only on the media.
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 01:50 PM
David Clarke. The black person liked by white people who normally don't like black people, so they can claim they like black people.
Bob McBride January 30, 2013 at 01:55 PM
You are the mud.
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Neither of those incidents are as drama queen Clarke describes it where the home owner is at personal risk. Both are cases where the doors were open and they came it, scooped up what was at hand, and left.
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Really Bob? Did I offend your delicate sensitivities? I'm so...damned...sorry. Didn't know Patch put you in charge here. But I guess from all the time you spend on this thing, not hard to imagine you'd think that. You know I'm right, thus you whine. I'm sure AWD will be along any second to justify this. Within two hours our local John Wayne will be on Charlie's show crying about how that bad man from England made fun of his inability to come up with any instances of someone using a gun to defend himself. Bob's thin-skinned answer coming in three..two...one.
CowDung January 30, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Keith: Were the burglars not entering people's homes while they were there? Your statement was that it was "extremely rare", but recent events show it to be more common than you claim.
Bob McBride January 30, 2013 at 02:14 PM
No Keith just pointing out the obvious. You're the embodiment of everything you complain about here. Your fixation on race is no different than that of AWD.
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 02:39 PM
In your world Bob it is soooo inappropriate to point out racism, but not so much to act like one. I realize of course that I don't spend the millions of hours on Patch that you do so pardon me if I missed it, but when have you tsk'ed tsk'ed people like AWD and many others. Once or twice ain't gonna cut it since as the resident towering intellectual who happens to vote the straight GOP ticket, you are Bobby on the spot when it comes to me, but why is it I never see you doing the same thing with others?
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Admittedly I was wrong in the way I put, but I didn't spend thousands of dollars of county money to go on the air and play drama queen with the facts. And you don't have a problem with that?
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 02:42 PM
It was more that private groups got together to populate the Lake front and come up with activities. Sure the policing helped, but Clarke doesn't deserve all the credit. And this implication of people partnering with him implies that the county sheriff do the kind of policing, which they don't. So the ad is bogus.
CowDung January 30, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I think Clarke said what needed to be said. Police response times in Milwaukee are pathetic--people really are better off defending themselves. Hopefully Clarke's words will inspire Barrett and/or Flynn to improve the situation.
Bob McBride January 30, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Keith, the only difference between you and AWD is that AWD is smart enough to do his race baiting anonymously. Other than that, and the fact that you complain about the place constantly, claim you're going to stay away and then jump right back in, you guys are opposite sides of the same coin.
CowDung January 30, 2013 at 03:05 PM
I wonder if Rees Roberts knows Keith Schmitz...
Keith Schmitz January 30, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Constantly? Maybe it feels that way to you because you like one side of that coin. And please tell us. How is calling out racism, racism? In what your universe does that exist, except yours of bogus cynicism straight Republican ticket voting. Smart enough to do his race baiting anonymously? Yeah Bob. Throwing out racist epithets while hiding behind a screen name is so courageous and so adds to the dialogue. You provide so much amusement. As far as me coming off and on, I'll do whatever I damned well please. I know you think you own this blog because this is the sum total of your life, but you'll just have to live with it. Sorry. How the hell you come off as so presumptuous is unbelievable.
CowDung January 30, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Making baseless claims of racism is not 'calling out racism', Keith. That sort of thing contributes more to the problem instead of working toward a solution...
Bob McBride January 30, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Yes, Keith, he's smarter than you. He race baits from behind the cloak of anonymity. You race bait using your real name. That's just plain stupid.
John Zywicke January 31, 2013 at 12:42 PM
The best thing to do when Sheriff Clarke makes a statement like this, is not to listen. Anyone who advocates "Wild West Mentality" must be working for the firearms industry.
Besty Parker January 31, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I'm from western N C. and would like to tell Sheriff Clarke HOW MUCH WE ADMIRE HIM! That interview with Morgan and the Brit, really burns me up. Seems most of the county's all over America are taking a stand. He has 100% behind him in his decision to stand for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution . Our Prez. dislikes . America and to want to bring it down, He is actually starting his campaign for 2016. A 3 term president. With out arms we would have to succumb to HIS government. If I knew Clarke's phone ## I would call him direct. He deserves to have a gold medal for not loosing his cool with the liberal tv news and newspapers'.
CowDung January 31, 2013 at 07:35 PM
How is Sheriff Clarke advocating a "Wild West Mentality"? He's not encouraging anyone to go out into the streets and hunt down bad guys. He's rightly stating that 911 response times are too slow, and you are probably better off being ready and able to defend yourself rather than waiting for the police to arrive.

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