Sheriff Clarke: That's job one hiring more officers. We don't have time to wait."
Some of what these families are describing is community policing.
It is a model Milwaukee County has tried in the past, and Sheriff David Clarke says it worked back then.
Amanda: A lot of people say one of the keys to that is community policing. Getting out into the community getting to know the people they're serving. What do you think about that model? And how could it be applied to the Milwaukee Police Department and the Sheriff's Office?
Clarke: I believe community policing can work, you have to have the requisite number of officers to have the time to spend in the community on that certain function. We don't have that right now. These cops they're under resourced. We are about 100 officers short in the city of Milwaukee Police Department. I am about 100 deputies down. When we are just going from call to call, how can we do these sort of things like spend time with people, get to know who they are. We are running around like chickens with our heads cut off from one hot spot we don't have enough people to affectively employ it.
Amanda: So the number one priority is what getting more officers?
Clarke: That's job one hiring more officers. We don't have time to wait.
Amanda: Starting with the animosity that was evident in Sherman Park, I just want to get your thoughts on what happened there what was that about?
Clarke: I'm from here born and raised never left. I've been seeing this thing brewing for decades. I have talked about it incessantly the urban pathologies, those are what cause riots. You have entrenched poverty, generational poverty people can't escape it. You have a failing public school system, you have dysfunctional homes. You have massive unemployment especially with black males in the city of Milwaukee. You have questionable lifestyle choices our young people joining gangs, selling drugs, so on and so forth. That's the volatile mix that simmers below the surface. People get angry, tension builds for no reason. All it needs is a spark. One of the sparks that can cause one of these situations is a police use of force, a police shooting. What we did and what we have a tendency to do is we work on the wrong thing and focus on the wrong thing.
Amanda: What do you think police could do to improve the relationship? Anything?
Clarke: No. Not off the top of my head no. You should ask me what I think the community should do.
Amanda: That was my next question what do you think?
Clarke: It is a two way street, that's what it is we have to meet in the middle.
Amanda: If you could lead the charge to fix the issue of gun violence in Milwaukee what would be the first 2-3 things you would do?
Clarke: You say gun violence. Its about culturally dysfunctional behavior. Our young black men have to start making better lifestyle choices. That's the self criticizing I am talking about. And say hey you've gotta make better lifestyle choices. You got kids young man? Raise them. This is what I would do, bring a change of mindset instead of lets grow the underclass. Let’s grow government dependency we have here in the city of Milwaukee. That's the path we are on right now, grow the underclass. It’s been very destructive. So I would go after the urban pathologies, I would stop with all of this liberal progressive things that have wrecked the city. The police, we can deal with the police but that's not the major issue. If you want to reduce crime this is how you do it. Make better lifestyle choices. Educate. The school system is failing miserably. Everybody seems to be okay with it other than, oh that's terrible, we need to do something but nothing gets done. The math and reading scores continue to get worse, the achievement gap between black students and their white counterparts continues to widen.
Amanda: Do you think there's hope for Milwaukee?
Clarke: If we stay on the path right now and follow these progressive urban policies no. We are circling the drain right now and eventually we are going to be on the abyss. So if we continue on this path we are going to go down, drains don't go up.