Undercover sheriff deputy enters Milwaukee County courthouse with gun

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by Chris Patterson
by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says the Milwaukee County Courthouse security checkpoints are "an exercise in going through the motions."  

Because of that, he has ordered deputies to stand watch over all six checkpoint around the Milwaukee County Courthouse complex after an undercover deputy enters all six entrances with a firearm.

Some people agree with him outside the courthouse. 

"Their safety, our safety, everybody's safety is not being properly taken care of," Mick Triplett said.

"If a gun's being involved, definitely [don't feel safe]," Rosa Ruiz said.

Sheriff Clarke's office says integrity checks have been performed in the past, and this latest one was instigated by a courthouse shooting in Delaware. During the latest integrity check, an undercover female deputy entered all six courthouse entrances with a gun tucked in her waistband. The sheriff's release says her gun did set off metal detectors, and security personnel did use a hand held device. At all six entrances the woman showed her belt buckle as the source of the problem, and was let through.

Sheriff Clarke says, "complacency and a lack of a sense of urgency are factors, as well as inadequate supervision by Facilities Management. The security check has become an exercise in going through the motions. That is not what I expect..."

The checkpoint security is a part of the Facilities Management Division. In his release Clarke mentions that the director of this division reports to County Executive Chris Abele.

Abele said his office reached out to the Sheriff's office about county facility security a few weeks ago.

Abele responded Wednesday saying, "I'll just keep saying, he's welcome to address this in person or to say yes to the meeting we requested from their office on this subject and I'm just guessing that's more likely to get a good solution."

Abele wouldn't specify if something happened to prompt the meeting request, but says he's willing to meet about it.

"There will never be a time when I think public safety is something we can't improve," Abele said.  "I'm never going to say, 'good enough, stop looking at it'.  We're always going to be looking at it."

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