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Wis. Sheriff Blasts 'Idiot' Supervisor, Demands Apology

July 17, 2012  | 

Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. Photo: MCSO.
Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. Photo: MCSO.

Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke took umbrage at a county supervisor's critique of his bulk handgun order, issuing a blistering statement Tuesday calling the elected official a "puke politician," "small man," and "an idiot."

Sheriff Clarke escalated the war of words with Supervisor John Weishan Jr., who on Monday told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that there's "absolutely no reason to justify" the sheriff's order of 565 Glock handguns for his deputies.

"We're not fighting a war here," Weishan told the Journal Sentinel. "A deputy is just going to fire his weapon on the range. The most wear and tear on a weapon is just cleaning it."

The sheriff's office purchased the G22 and G27 pistols for $72,320—about $139 each with trade-in credits from 10-year-old duty weapons. The office will issue the pistols to 275 deputies and correctional officers with firearms training in a jurisdiction of about 940,000 residents that includes the city of Milwaukee.

Sheriff Clarke released the public statement, he said, because he felt the need to speak up for the work done by his deputies and other law enforcement officers.

"This puke politician insinuates that cops are not worthy of the best equipment I can get for them, which might just be the difference between going home at the end of a shift or ending up on a memorial wall," Sheriff Clarke wrote. "By the way, I didn't see this small man at the police memorial ceremony this past May honoring the courage and sacrifice of officers killed in the line of duty protecting his pudgy ass."

The sheriff went on to list several recent incidents when local officers needed to fire their service weapons. "Weishan was probably sitting safely at home, feeding his face and watching TV, oblivious to life on the street," Sheriff Clarke wrote.

The sheriff also demanded an apology by the end of the day. Rather than apologizing, Supervisor Weishan reiterated his criticism of the "extraordinary weapons buy" with his own statement.

"This excessive buy indicates total mismanagement of taxpayer dollars on the part of Sheriff Clarke," Supervisor Weishan said. "A responsible leader would have purchased smaller amounts of weapons at reasonable intervals during the past several years."

Sheriff Clarke in his statement also thanked Supervisor Mark Borkowski, who was quoted in the Journal Sentinel article.

"Who am I to say what the proper number is?" said Borkowski, chairman of the County Board panel that reviews legal and law enforcement issues. "It's his shop ... he gets to call the shots."

Read Sheriff Clarke's full statement here.

By Paul Clinton


Official Questions Wis. Sheriff's Bulk Glock Order

Comments (43)

Displaying 1 - 43 of 43

Alan Goldberg @ 7/17/2012 4:59 PM

That is the difference between an elected sheriff and a police chief. Apparently this county supervisor does not understand the deal his sheriff's office got on the guns as well as the fact that they DO wear out. I am glad to see a police administrator say it as politically incorrect as it is.

Bob T.retired NYS LEO @ 7/17/2012 5:11 PM

The Sheriff is right, he did a stock up and spend now to save a lot later for the tax payers and get the best equipment for his men. Don't most of us stock up at the food store when something is a good buy so we save down the road when the prices go up? By getting the best firearms for his men he possibly saved a life and saved the taxpayers a line of duty death pension. I guess that bureaucrat that complained is safe in his home and never walked the streets in harms way.

Randy @ 7/17/2012 5:35 PM

10 year old guns means the night sights are near the end of their service life, magazines should be replaced at 3 to 5 year intervals, along with springs and extractors. I would say the Sheriff obtained the new guns for next to nothing, a wise use of taxpayer dollars.

scpdblue @ 7/17/2012 5:36 PM

WAY TO GO SHERIFF.. Tell this paper pushing asshole to stick it. It would be a honor to work for you.

Mac @ 7/17/2012 5:36 PM

I'm not taking anyone's side here........But to play Devil's Adocate, GLOCK handguns are designed to perform well past 300,000 thousand rounds. How many rounds have these individual guns had put on them by officers? If it's not even close to that, why are we replacing the weapons? I understand if they simply want them, and the money is in the budget. But the folks saying that this could possibly save a life because the old guns are, somehow, worn out, are likely very mistaken. The idea that a new gun versus a worn in gun is going to make a difference in a gun fight reflects a mindset that is problematic.

Mac @ 7/17/2012 5:38 PM

Night sights are replaceable, Randy, for far less than a new gun. The argument that the old GLOCK makes you less effective in a firefight is not supportable by logic. I still have a G22 that I purchased in 1995........I can assure you i've put more rounds through this gun annually than the vast majority of the sheriff's deputies at this department. And I can assure you, it's as lethally effective as the newest one you can find at the dealer.

Mike @ 7/17/2012 6:03 PM

Bravo Sheriff

jnc36rcpd @ 7/17/2012 6:07 PM

The new pistols cost the MCSO $139 with the trade-in. I'd say purchasing new weapons make more sense than spending that much to purchase and install night sights on the old weapons.

Donn @ 7/17/2012 6:14 PM

This is no different than a never-served-in-the-military politician ordering combat ground troops to use less-lethal weapons in the face of lethally-armed terrorists. Which, by the way, happened recently. People without experience shouldn't attempt to dictate to experts who know their profession.

rob @ 7/17/2012 6:20 PM


Night sights would cost nearly what he got the entire new gun for. Not to mention the gen 4 glock has several updates not available on the 10 year old guns. The changeable grip plates is worth it alone.

Duane Dawson @ 7/17/2012 6:23 PM

I stand with the Sheriff on this. You never know when you will be faced with the need to defend yourself or others, and having the best equipment only makes sense. Finally, buying a few guns at a time over years probably would not have been as economical as the bulk deal they got

George @ 7/17/2012 6:44 PM

Maybe this not too intelligent of life facts commissioner should spend a month in a uniform and marked car with a weapon older than he has been a politician. And that says it, he is a politician, not a police officer. He probably has a new computer and printer in his office. Well that is his duty equipment. A gun is a police officer's/deputys office equipment. Basically, if you want to learn how to pound nails, you go to a carpenter. If a gun needs replacing, that is the Sheriff's decision. As to that other guy, Most departments fire at least once a month and qualify quarterly, at least mine does. That is about 600-800 rounds a year, The weapon has to be cleaned within 24 hrs of firing. This, to the uninitiated, or ignorant, or just plain stupid, is called wear and tear. NOTHING lasts forever, and if it means going home at end of shift, or not, as a result of a worn out piece of equipment, then I will fight tooth and nail for the best equipment I can get. Only the uninitiated, or just plain stupid, as is this politician, will vote for their officers/deputy's to carry sub-stabdard equipment. But, then again, it is not their asses on the line, so who cares. I DO!!! I could apoligize for sounding so belligerent, but I won't. After all, it is my life on the line, not some no nothing politician's.

Matt @ 7/17/2012 6:49 PM

Way to stand up for your Deputies Sheriff Clarke. I would not only work for this man I would go to war for him. As for the night sights debate Sheriff Clarke got brand new weapons for $139, end of discussion.

Lynn Prokaski @ 7/17/2012 7:17 PM

They buy their officers weapons???? Heck I had to buy my Glock 19 when I was in the academy...before I graduated....and I had to pay for...

Bob T.retired NYS LEO @ 7/17/2012 7:42 PM

In NYC you have to choose your choice of approved sidearms in the academy and they take it out of your paycheck. When I worked in FL, I had to purchase my own gun also for the Sheriff's Office.. However the State of FL. issues you a firearm and you get to keep it at retirement. Wish I could get a new Glock for $138.

vbdep @ 7/17/2012 7:44 PM

Supervisor John "Wuss"man Jr.- Hello, 911 I need a deputy at my house now. There's someone in my house with a knife!" Dispatch- Sorry Mr. "Wuss"man, we don't have any armed deputies to bail your a@@ out of that sling. You have to hold them off until we can find one since your liberal whimp a@@ won't let them have one..... This guy is such a jerkwad not letting the dept have the tools they need to do the job.

Donald Wallace @ 7/17/2012 8:16 PM

Does it never end? It is evident that this politician has never met a BG
in a serious situation; these dummies would p@@s themselves and beg for the sheriff to send him a gun( would he want an old pistol or wish for a new one?) Be thankful for a man who is willing to face your "wussy" a@@ and protect his officers. Go home to your family and pray thankfully for men like your sheriff who is still willing to put his a@@ on the line to protect even you....!!

Dale @ 7/17/2012 8:31 PM

The part time County Supervisor's email address is: This is his county email address and it should be open for any reasonable opinions. I wish I could find a new Glock for 139.00. We need to stay with this story and follow up. Our profession is great about giving hi-fives as the story breaks and forgeting about the stand up folks later as they are paying the price for standing up for what was right. My guess is that this sheriff just added another target onto his back. I'm sure that his department will pay a price once the press dies down.

GATEWAYGUY @ 7/17/2012 10:03 PM

While I DO NOT like the Glocks to start with. (Beretta or Sig would be better) I LOVE the way the Sheriff told off this paper pushing SOB! Good going Sheriff!

clark @ 7/17/2012 10:35 PM

The county supervisor says "We're not fighting a war here". Well I guess he obviously hasn't been on the streets of the inner city lately. John Weishan Jr should be ashamed of himself for questioning the integrity of a Sheriff.

BW @ 7/17/2012 11:47 PM

That age, that price? The purchase is a no brainer for anyone with a brain. I guess that's a contradiction of terms, though. If you're staking your own life, as well as your ability to protect others' lives, on a machine, replacing it is not only wise, but the responsible thing to do.

Bud Chapman @ 7/18/2012 12:30 AM

My comment is that Sheriff Clark is my kind of police officer. Meaning that it appears he wants the best equipment for his men to be safe and also implement a safety factor for his town/city. Far as I'm concerned a politician should worry about politics and keep their damn noses out of police protocol.

Walkin trails @ 7/18/2012 5:42 AM

Although the sheriff probably lost the support of the pudgy whiner faction, he was justified to speak out. First, Glock didn't originally design their pistols to go 300k rounds; I doubt the Austrian military ever intended their pistols to fire that many rounds - it was just the benefit of a good design and good materials. Anyway I thought that was more true to the 9 mms. Being around Glocks for the past 20 some years, I've seen some work longer than others. On all pistols, the older they get and the higher the round count, the springs get tired. I was working with guys from one small sheriffs dept whose G22s were getting tired but the staff wouldn't spend any money to keep them going. The staff wanted new pistols but didn't want to spend money fixing the things such as magazines that wear out. I am a big advocate of requiring each officer to provide their own duty weapons, but I agree with Sheriff Clarke in their efforts to upgrade their department sidearms. The sheriff has a pair...

FL Dep @ 7/18/2012 7:15 AM

Sheriff Clarke, can I come work for you? You are looking out for your troops.

Jim @ 7/18/2012 7:22 AM

Where the Sheriff did not make any friends of his County Supervisor, he made friends with his department and cops everywhere! Way to go Sheriff Clarke. I applaud you for standing up - but think the language could have been more productive. You have to live with this idiot in office. Tone it down a little - but do not let it drop. You are absolutely RIGHT. $139 including trade ins? You are an administrator everyone should be proud of!!

Tom Conlin @ 7/18/2012 8:02 AM

To Mac: The Sheriff made a good purchase, at a good price, because the trade-in Glocks HAVE NOT reached the end of their service life. There are a couple of good reasons for this.
First, because they still are useable, they are worth something. You don't trade in your car when it can't be driven another mile further. You trade it in while it still has some worth to another buyer.
Second, who in their right mind would force weapons carriers to wait until the firearm was completely useless before issuing a new one? The County Supervisor might believe the logic in that; use it until it fails. However, all the previous posts explain quite well how that will cost Deputies lives. Perhaps if somebody explained to the County Supervisor that purchasing new guns is lots cheaper than lawsuits for negligence, he might actually understand that.
Finally, as has been pointed out, some weapons last longer than others. Whenever possible, the cost of repairing old weapons versus purchasing new ones has to be evaluated. There is always a point of no return where it costs more to keep the old pistol than to buy a new one.
Taken all together, I think the Sheriff ought to be 1) commended for finding the deal he got, 2) commended for standing up for what is the right thing to do financially and morally, and 3) he ought to be commended for calling it like it is, without fear of being PC. We need leaders calling "BS" when they see it and when it is a detriment to their troops, their community, and their profession. This guy John Weishan is obviously pretty impressed with himself and his television education about how often cops use their weapons. Stinking bureaucrat!!!

pat @ 7/18/2012 8:03 AM

Sheriff, you can tell the soft politician, "for those of us that have had to fight for it, life has meaning the protected shall never know."

Bumper @ 7/18/2012 8:23 AM

It is a war out there, and we police officers would like to think we are winning. Providing us with the best equipment and technology helps us to prtoect individuals and allows us to go home to our families at the end of our tour of duty.

Alan @ 7/18/2012 9:14 AM

I have been involved in the selection and testing of guns for my agency for over 30 years. I don't know of any gun "designed to last for 300,000 rounds". There are lots of Glocks out there that will surpass that number but they do require parts and preventive maintenance. Night sights do need to be replaced anywhere from 8 to 12 years as they do dim out. It is the nature of the beast. Magazine springs do wear out and should be replaced. Recoil springs need to be replaced. Depending on the trigger system in the Glock, trigger springs do break and need to be replaced. When one looks at the total expenditure and add up the parts and time it takes to maintain these weapons, it was a fiscally responsible decision. I wish I could get that deal on a ten year old Glock. There is no question that the older any mechanical device is, the more likely it is statistically that the failure rate will increase. The .40S&W caliber is brutal on handguns. Depending on the ammo, slide velocities, chamber pressures and frame flex can be significant. In fact, there is one agency that brutally tests their guns to 10,000 rounds and most of the major brands do break parts as they get to that target number. Likewise, as the selection of ammo and flashlight attachments have broadened, the newer Glock Gen 4 guns are more reliable with a broader base of ammo and lights. I would argue that the sheriff's decision was THE fiscally responsible one.

FireCop @ 7/18/2012 11:00 AM

Oh boy, somebody telling the truth about an elected official and not being politically correct. That'll get you in trouble every time. Sheriff, you've got my vote. Be safe.

Pt @ 7/18/2012 5:53 PM

The level of political discourse in this country has sunk to a new low, which I thought was impossible. Whether you agree with the Sheriff or the Supervisor, there needs to be a certain level of civility and respect. Clarke ought to have provided a thoughtful and evidence-based reply, rather than resorting to juvenile personal attacks. It makes the entire profession look no better than grade-school kids calling each other names on the playground. Shameful.

SWFlaOfficer @ 7/18/2012 6:54 PM

Thank you Sheriff for being willing to step up and say what needed to be said to a spineless, ignorant politician. Maybe this idiot of a small man can do a ride along, in your most dangerous section of town at the busiest period of time for any shift!!!!

John Clark @ 7/19/2012 6:41 AM

Thanks for standing up for your officer's safety and speaking the truth! You're running the department, not the county supervisor who has probably never been in a deadly confrontation.

C Doc @ 7/19/2012 7:49 AM

LOL....I'm sure Mr. Politician would buy Glocks for triple that amount if he was in the gun business. It seems the only time spending is OK is when you give the money to your friends or it goes into your own pocket. I hope the citizens of Milwaukee county remember what an idiot this politician is come next election. Sheriff's got my vote!!!!

Bobbie Seminick @ 7/19/2012 8:03 AM

Iam a retired deputy sheriff , most of those years spent in Florida, when I started out you had to buy your gun, and some places you still do . I was lucky enough in my last fifteen years to work for a sheriff that issued Glocks, and replaced them when needed . I would work for this sheriff in a minute . Unless you have gone to work every day knowing you might have to use your gun in deffense of yourself or others you should keep your mouth shut.

mike @ 7/19/2012 9:03 AM

The supervisor is a moron. You don't need brains to get elected, just one more idiots voting for you instead of the opposing candidate. Look at Congress!

Trigger @ 7/19/2012 1:05 PM

True most firearms "if" taken care of do last and perform for many years. The agency I retired from issued S&W Model 10, .38 special revolvers when I started in 1978. Around 1989 they issued Sig P226 9mm, and in 2000 they issued Sig P226 40 cal. Each of the previous firearms worked well however each had minor issues which if repaired would have been expensive. As technology improves so does the workings of firearms. It is sad that Mr. Weishan lacked the knowledge prior to speaking. Making a large purchase as this saves money, if the money is in the budget what is the issue? Thanks Sheriff Clarke for taking a stand!!

Green Traffic @ 7/19/2012 2:34 PM

I would work for this man.

On a technical note: The tritium night sights on the pistols need replaced after 10 years and the cost of that is almost as much as he got entirely new pistols for. This Sheriff is not only doing right by his deputies, but he was acting as a responsible financial steward. Paying $139 for a $500-600 pistol is a great deal .

The county supervisor is an ignorant fool.

Chuck McKenzie @ 7/20/2012 2:37 PM

Finally, a Chief who has the gonads to stand up to the elected idiots and their outrageous statements. This fool shows his ignorance and careless attitude toward law enforcement by what he says. I wish you many more terms as Sheriff, and a rapid demise for the supervisor.

ROB ROY SELF @ 7/21/2012 3:11 PM

Finally another Sheriff other than Sheriff Joe that tell's it like it is.

Grant Beers @ 7/22/2012 5:11 AM

Another political hack with ZERO understanding of law enforcement.
A great deal on the weapons. Going into my 30th year of law enforcement, I'm on my 5th weapon, A S&W M&P .40 which replaced the S&W 4006. Thank you to Sheriff Clarke for telling it like it is. We need more Sheriffs and Chiefs to stand up to the idiots.

Ima Leprechaun @ 7/24/2012 12:39 AM

Not long afterI started my career I heard that same rhetoric from city council. We have no crime here why do you need a gun? Many moons have passed and I am so glad that never was passed. But even back then there was crime let him walk around with a bulls eye badge and see if he thinks his water pistol will do that job. You made me laugh anyway. It takes me so long to read and type but its worth it.

MJ @ 3/9/2013 2:09 PM

Clarke says a lot of things that would make any man want to physically cause him harm. I have spoken to him on several occasions. I listened and tolerated his behavior the first couple of times, because he was a superior officer. The third time, I did not threaten him or shout and use profanity. He is a bully, so I let him know in a few words as possible, if he ever spoke to me that way again he would regret it. I never had anymore trouble out of him. The supervisor should do the same. He is a loud mouth, and a coward. If I see him in public, he turns pale. That is what you do with bullies. That is all!

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