MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke steps into the national spotlight as he talks about his controversial radio spot on national cable networks.
"Once the intruder is inside your home. Once someone sticks a gun in your face to take your car or your wallet, you don't have the option of calling 911," says Clarke to CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Clarke explained his reasoning why he feels dialing 911 is often not the best option and why he recommends citizens be armed and trained to fight back.
He says crime is on the rise while local law enforcement agencies are cutting back. Clarke says last year, budget shortfalls forced him to lay off 12 % of his team of officers and this year, Milwaukee police officers each must take three furlough days.
"At the same time, the crime continues to go on, there is a burglary and robbery problem that has been going on in the City of Milwaukee. The calls for service continue to get in. At some point there is a breaking point."
Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello backs Clarke and released a statement saying, "It is unfortunate that city officials have made the decision to furlough our officers – this action equates to the loss of 48, 000 hours of police coverage. The result is simple; the safety of our officers and community will be negatively impacted – fewer officers equals greater response time."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's office also responded with a written statement saying, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn "has assured the Mayor and the Common Council that the three furlough days will have no impact on MPD’s daily staffing levels."
The statement says" three furloug days were necessary to avoid lay-offs and to help insure that the City would meet the Police Union’s 4% pay increase
and the taxpayer funded 2013 police pension contribution of $29,954,000."
Clarke's comments are making an impact outside his county. Sheriff Todd Nehls of Dodge County says he is receiving emails and phone calls from people asking him to support Sheriff Clarke's comments. He says he respectfully cannot do that and explains why.
Nehls says he has confidence in the emergency response system and believes the public should call police first. He adds that he is a strong supporter of the second amendment but tells the public, "prior to exercising that right, if you can, without exposing yourself to harm or danger, call 911 and seek shelter until law enforcement arrives."
Sheriff Clarke also went on the Fox News Channel Monday morning. The Milwaukee Police Chief was not available for comment.