Denita Ball shares her plans as next sheriff of Milwaukee County

NOW: Denita Ball shares her plans as next sheriff of Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County just elected its next sheriff and for the first time in the department's history, the role will be taken over by a Black woman.

Denita Ball will take over as Sheriff Earnell Lucas prepares to retire.

Ball won the primary election with more than 50% of the votes.

She's no stranger to the department and currently serves as deputy chief. She says her first priority when she takes over as sheriff will be tackling staffing shortages throughout the department and at the county jail.

"We hope that the county can get more funds from the state because we know that has been a concern," said Ball.

Also top of mind for the new sheriff is violent crime.

Ball says she's making plans to collaborate with other agencies to get control of issues such as shootings, homicides, reckless driving, and car thefts. "It's a concern throughout the 19 municipalities," she said.

Ball's leadership will hit historic milestones. She'll be the first Black female sheriff in Wisconsin's history and is the first female to be elected sheriff in Milwaukee County.

"When I first got into law enforcement it wasn't my first choice, but I ended up staying just because of the impact we have on people," said Ball.

Ball comes with the experience for this role. She was a finalist for Milwaukee police chief back in 2007 and was a retired deputy inspector for Milwaukee police before Sheriff Lucas appointed her second-in-command in 2018.

Ball says she plans to be a hands-on sheriff.

"Sometimes we're not going to get it right, but we should strive to get it right. What I want to do in this role is to enhance our community engagement, enhance our training of officers and deputies," said Ball.

Community relations is a priority for Ball and she says she welcomes feedback from the public.

"We can't do this alone. There are just too many problems out there, so we need to have a wholistic approach with all hands on deck," said Ball.

Ball will be officially elected in November and will take over as sheriff in January.

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