Milwaukee legislators bashing Sheriff Clarke over limited security for Obama's speech

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Milwaukee legislators bashing Sheriff Clarke over limited security for Obama's speech

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED Feb 15, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Two Milwaukee County supervisors and the Milwaukee Common Council president are sharing their disgust over the decision for Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke to limit security on President Obama's visit to Milwaukee Wednesday.

County Board Chairman Lee Holloway released a statement about the decision, stating, "I'm really disappointed that the Sheriff is playing heavy politics with security for dignitaries. I really thought more of the Sheriff, and I hope that he adds additional security both today and in future presidential visits," Chairman Holloway said.

Clarke has blamed his department's reduced role in presidential security on county budget cuts.

County Supervisor Eyon Biddle shared his perspective as well.  "I am disgusted that Sheriff Clarke has chosen to put his personal ideology ahead of his responsibility to protect and serve," said Biddle.  "He has attacked the County Board, the County Executive, our Judicial Branch, and anyone who disagrees with his narrow-minded viewpoint.  Now, he's using his dissatisfaction over budget cuts to disrespect the Office of the President."

Biddle went on to say, "Sheriff, I call on you to take a page out of your own DOTS program and MAN UP!"

Meanwhile, Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. called the sheriff's decision "appalling".  "I believe the unprecedented decision by Sheriff Clarke is clearly an attempt to put politics ahead of duty, and ahead of the Sheriff's sworn commitment to provide security and safety for a visiting dignitary of the highest order -- our Commander In Chief," Hines said.  "The Sheriff obviously cares little about that sworn commitment, and is focused instead on scoring some temporary political points with a portion of his constituency."

Fran McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Clarke, said security wasn't compromised for Obama's visit because the State Patrol agreed to fill in for controlling traffic at all freeway ramps along the route Obama's motorcade took in Milwaukee.