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