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Clarke Tells Gun Owners To "Fight Back," But Police Say Not So Fast

Area law enforcement officials respond to Milwaukee County Sheriff's message about gun owners fighting back and "simply calling 9-1-1 and waiting is no longer your best option."

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.

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 a commercial during news talk radio host Mark Belling’s show, and put on the department’s website and 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).

But Greendale Police Chief Robert Malasuk issued the following statement via Facebook:

The Greendale Police Department has not laid off any public safety personnel. Greendale Officers continue to be ready and willing to respond for calls for help or service with the same rapid response the residents have become accustomed to.

Your decision whether or not to arm yourself should not be influenced by other people’s opinions, or fear. It should be your own personal choice.

If you chose to arm yourself, we would urge you to take a firearms safety class and a class for carrying a concealed weapon.

Carry concealed classes are available through the Greendale police department.

An application to the Greendale Police Department's conceal carry class was also posted on the Facebook page.

J. B. Schmidt January 29, 2013 at 01:03 PM
@Jason What is the response time from the moment you call 911 until the police office arrives at your house? I have no doubt that Greendale's finest will make every effort to get to your residence as fast as possible, but will the criminal wait for that? Shouldn't you take the responsibility for the first action?
CowDung January 29, 2013 at 03:04 PM
While Greendale might be fine with the response times of their law enforcement, that doesn't mean that other areas enjoy the same. Response times in Milwaukee city are terrible, and I think that Clarke is right--arming oneself is probably the best way to deal with the issue. It's pretty obvious that Barrett and Flynn aren't addressing the problem--response times have been getting worse, not better.
Bill Mack January 29, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Sheriff Clarke was primarily referring to the city of Milwaukee, he didn't say anything that wasn't true. I see where the Journal writer today agreed with the Sheriff , as the article says "Citizens can't trust that law enforcement will get there on time" we must defend our family until law enforcement arrives.
Bren January 29, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Seems like someone wants to run for Mayor...
CowDung January 30, 2013 at 02:21 PM
I hope he does. I think that he'd be far more effective at addressing the problems facing Milwaukee that Barrett has been.

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