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EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff David Clarke on assertive policing in the American "ghetto" and body cameras

Sheriff David Clarke says Milwaukee city leaders are failing in throwing only police at the crime problem in certain Milwaukee neighborhoods.

"In many suburban communities, policing works because they have informal social controls including functional families, a job and functioning schools. Those things are missing in the City of Milwaukee."

During the CBS 58 News at 4 p.m., Sheriff Clarke called them ghettos and told anchor Michele McCormack that while some might find the term offensive, ghetto is being honest. 

"We can cleanse the language if you want. I think when you do that, what it does, is it takes their minds away from the problems that exist in that area and we don't do anything about it."

Sheriff Clarke says when your only solution is to dispatch for officers, you're bound to create more conflict.

He used the death of Eric Garner in New York City as an example.

Garner was the man detained by NYPD officers for selling loose cigarettes.

He was placed in a choke hold after officers say he resisted. His phrase "I can't breathe" heard on video became a rallying cry for community activists who marched in the streets after Garner died on the way to the hospital.

"There is a perfect example of police being miscast. Why did we send police in to do the job of the New York State Department of Revenue? We sent police on a revenue collection mission. Miscast.  When he (Garner) decided to resist,  the police had no other option but to use force to get him to comply. You send a Department of Revenue employee, doesn't have arrest powers, he gives Eric Garner a citation for an ordinance violation. We'll see you in court. I think the police were miscast in that situation."

Body cameras are also coming to law enforcement officers. Milwaukee Police are refining the policy. The Sheriff's Office has launched a pilot program. 

"We're moving too fast on this," said the Sheriff. "We should use technology to assist. But there are a lot of issues not being addressed."

Among his concerns is the cost to store video and the privacy issues for the officers and citizens who might want to assist police.

"It's already tough getting information from people. Especially in the American ghetto in terms of helping us help them. You're going to have a reluctance on the part of many people who don't want to be filmed giving information to police.  They're going to be more reluctant to call us or give information. Let's move slow  on this body camera. It's going to come."

The Sheriff has long been embroiled in battles over budget money to implement his policies.

Just this past Wednesday, during a committee hearing, the Chief of Staff for County Executive Chris Abele has suggested Clarke cut his command staff and stop using taxpayer dollars to sue the county over money allocations.

When asked if he considered running for County Executive or Mayor so he could control the purse strings, Clarke said the following:

"I'm the elected Sheriff. In other words, the people have elected me to make the decisions relative to public safety. I am pretty close to an expert. I kind of stay away from that term, but I've been doing this for  37 years. A lot of what you see is the back and forth that goes on in political discourse. I don't get all worked up about it. It's my job to fight for resource. Not for me. But,  I send men and women every day out into the streets, putting their lives on the line. The least I can do is give them the proper amount of resources." 
 

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