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Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt will tour jail Thursday

Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt plans to tour the Milwaukee County jail on Thursday.

The facility has been the subject of lawsuits and criticism after several deaths behind bars under the tenure of former Sheriff David Clarke.

"I'm my own person," said Schmidt in an interview with the CBS 58 News at 4.

Schmidt said his experience as jail administrator from 2005 to 2010 and heading the House of Corrections from 2009 until 2012 has given the background to address concerns. But, it also seems to be his passion. 

He admits not going to bed the night he learned he would be taking over.

"Immediately I wanted to review where we were at as the Sheriff's office and the issues I felt personally needed to be addressed."

Schmidt said he knew right away that he wanted taking a closer look at the jail.

"First thing I got a hold of my  jail inspector and said I want the National Institute of Corrections to come in and do a complete technical assistance project."

When it comes to Thursday's tour of the jail, Schmidt said he will do a complete assessment himself.

"I'll go through, I'll examine everything. See what's good. What potentially needs changes. I'm going to do that immediately. I'm not going to wait around. I'm seizing the day, the moment. If there's anything that needs changing, I'm going to get it done."

Schmidt says he will decide possibly by the end of the week whether or not to submit an application to be appointed by the Governor to complete the current term and then seek election as Sheriff.

"I am so busy doing what I believe needs to be done that going through an application process, quite frankly, I don't want to be distracted."

When it comes to emerging from the shadow of his predecessor, Schmidt says he has his own style that will soon become clear, if it hasn't already.

"I appreciate what Sheriff Clarke did. He gave me the opportunities I currently have at this moment. I'm a little bit different breed."

To learn more about Schmidt's "fiscal conservative" approach to the budget, speed enforcement and his personal assessment of the jail, see the attached extended interview. 

Extended Interview with Acting Sheriff Schmidt from CBS 58 News on Vimeo.


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