Sheriff Clarke blasted over dialing back security protection during Obama's visit
Charles Benson reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- President Obama's Milwaukee visit turned into a controversy over whether Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was playing political games with the president's safety.
Sheriff David Clarke says, don't blame him, blame the Milwaukee County Board and County Executive Chris Abele.
The sheriff's office admits it dialed back some of its security protection of the president's visit because of budget cuts.
"Today you had a job, you didn't do it," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle.
Supervisor Biddle and other elected leaders were furious at Sheriff Clarke.
"I'm telling you to man up. Stop whining about your budget, be the sheriff," said Biddle.
The County Board cut the sheriff's budget by more than $10 million, eliminating $450,000 for dignitary protection and other community policing responsibilities.
Charles Benson: "Do you think Sheriff Clarke lived up to his responsibilities in providing protection for the president?"
Inspector Edward Bailey with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office: "Absolutely. The president was safe when he was protected here, the question is who provided it?"
The State Patrol tells TODAY'S TMJ4 they provided "substantially" more manpower than what they normal do for a presidential visit, but they would not give specific numbers.
The sheriff's office says it cost taxpayers $50,000 to protect dignitaries in off election years, $100,000 in a presidential election year.
Charles Benson: "In your mind there is no money to do this anymore?"
Inspector Bailey: "That's absolutely right. The reality of the situation is we always budgeted for dignitaries to come into Milwaukee County."
County Executive Chris Abele says other departments have managed with budget cuts. "He (Sheriff Clarke) has the ability to manage the budget as he see fits."
The sheriff's office says it did provide its usual security services that included: the SWAT Team, bomb squad and K-9 units.