Abele issues two vetoes, including $4 million for Sheriff's office
Chris Abele issued two vetoes for the 2016 budget, one which would eliminate $4 million in funding the Milwaukee County Board allocated for the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. Abele cited some of Clarke's recent comments in a release saying:
Earlier this month, the county executive wrote the County Board to request that they require transparency, accountability, and the use of evidence-based practices with the addition of funds to the Sheriff’s budget. Absent that accountability and a real commitment from the Sheriff to participate in constructive ways to address serious public safety and criminal justice issues in our community, Abele is vetoing the addition of $4,000,000 to the Sheriff’s budget. Instead of partnering with the County Board, the county executive, and others on the Community Justice Council to ensure a fair and effective justice system, the Sheriff has repeatedly used his platform to make extreme and divisive comments, such as referring to people in the Black Lives Matter movement as “sub-human creeps.”
“I am vetoing this amendment because I will not raise property taxes by 1.4% to validate the Sheriff for his repeated incendiary comments and his out of touch view on criminal justice and our society,” Abele said. “If we are going to add resources to the Sheriff’s budget it must be as part of a meaningful discussion on reforming our criminal justice system and reducing racial disparities.”
Sheriff David Clarke responded by telling local radio host Charlie Sykes he plans to file a lawsuit against Abele. He says Abele was weaponizing the budget process against his free speech. CBS 58 asked to speak with Sheriff Clarke about this Tuesday but his office declined our interview request.
Abele told reporters he's giving Clarke the same amount of money as last year. He also says the Sheriff's office has a unique role in Milwaukee County, but not one that includes violent crime.
"We're one of extremely few counties in the country that's totally incorporated," Abele said. "That means, in this county, every inch is patrolled by a police department. The role of the sheriff's department isn't public safety, it's process service, court security, expressway patrol, it's very specifically mandated. When you're talking about violent crime, that's the police department. We have been restoring investments to the courts, the district attorney's office, the victim witness protection program, these are very specific leveraged investments that have a direct impact on public safety."
The County Board could override Abele's veto when it meets Wednesday. Supervisor John Weishan says the county board is committed to public safety and he feels they will override Abele's veto.