Sheriff David Clarke: Residents should arm themselves, 911 not best option


n his latest radio spot, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. tells residents personal safety isn't a spectator sport anymore, and "I need you in the game."

"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," Clarke intones.

"You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back."

Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle 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?"

The stark message drew quick responses, including criticism from other law enforcement.

The spot aired at least once - during the last hour of the Mark Belling show on WISN-AM (1130) on Thursday. Clarke's spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin posted it to the department website on Friday. She said she did not know where else or how often the spot would be broadcast, or how much the department spent to air it.

An inquiry to WISN-AM was not immediately returned Friday.

News of the spot quickly generated feedback.

Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett's spokeswoman, released this statement from the mayor's office:

"Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie."

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